DENVER – Danilo Gallinari scored 23 points, hitting a crucial 3-pointer in the waning seconds, and the Denver Nuggets came back to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-91 Friday night after trailing for the most of the game.
Kosta Koufos added a career-high 21 points and Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Nuggets withstand 22 turnovers, which matched a season high and led to 24 Cleveland points. It was the fourth win in a row for the Nuggets, who beat Cleveland for the 10th time in the last 13 meetings in Denver.
Kyrie Irving, playing despite an illness, scored 28 points to lead the Cavaliers. Dion Waiters had 18 points and Tristan Thompson 16.
A dunk by Thompson put the Cavaliers up 62-50 but the Nuggets got a 3-pointer and a three-point play from Gallinari during an 11-0 run, pulling to 62-61 with 5:43 left in the third quarter.
Cleveland, which got a key 3-pointer from Luke Walton and a putback dunk from Tyler Zeller, fought back to take a 76-72 lead into the fourth quarter.
After Irving's 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key gave Cleveland an 85-80 lead, the Nuggets put together a 7-0 burst, going in front 87-85 on a short hook shot by Koufos.
Ty Lawson's driving layup with 1:48 left snapped an 89-all tie and after Cleveland couldn't convert on its next two possessions, Gallinari connected on a key 3-pointer that boosted the Nuggets' advantage to five with 34.9 seconds to play.
C.J. Miles, who missed Wednesday's win over Atlanta because of a back strain, hit a 3 for the final points of the second quarter to stretch the Cavaliers' halftime lead to 56-45. It was their biggest advantage at that point.
NOTES: Walton scored eight points in his return to the Cavaliers after missing the previous two games to tend to personal matters. ... Faried has 29 career double-doubles, including 17 this season. ... Koufos' previous high was 18 points, which he accomplished twice, most recently against Golden State on April 11, 2011.