Two teams jockeying for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference will meet in the Rockies on Friday when the Denver Nuggets play host to the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix is currently one game behind both Houston and Denver for the final two postseason spots in the West after a thrilling win in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Steve Nash's jumper with 1.7 seconds left on the clock gave the Suns a 107-105 victory over the Jazz in that one.
Utah appeared to tie the game as Paul Millsap finished a putback off a C.J. Miles missed three-pointer at the buzzer, but video replay showed the ball was still in Millsap's hands as the red light illuminated behind the backboard.
Seven Suns finished in double figures, led by Michael Redd's 19 points. Nash and Channing Frye each tallied 13 points, while Marcin Gortat added 14 and Shannon Brown and Markieff Morris netted 11 points apiece for Phoenix, which has won three straight.
"We survived," said Nash after the victory. "I thought the bench was great in the fourth quarter to give us a 10-point lead and the starters came in and coughed it up. We stuck with it and persevered and we were rewarded in the end."
The Nuggets, meanwhile, were on the other end of a heartbreaker on Wednesday, finishing a tough seven-game road trip with a 94-92 setback in New Orleans. Eric Gordon returned from a three-month absence due to knee surgery and knocked down two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining to lift the Hornets in that one.
Denver had a final possession, but Aaron Afflalo's inbounds pass was intercepted by Jason Smith to secure the home victory for New Orleans.
Ty Lawson poured in a game-high 22 points, Afflalo netted 15 and Al Harrington added 14 off the bench, but the Nuggets wrapped up their seven-game road trip under .500 at 3-4.
"We took a good trip and could have made it a great trip," said Nuggets head coach George Karl. "We just didn't get it done. Somehow tomorrow we have to figure out how to stay positive and hopefully get some healthy bodies back on the court."
Phoenix, which has won 16 of its last 23 overall to get back in the playoff hunt, has dropped four straight to Denver.