Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Kenneth Faried added 17 points with seven boards, as the Denver Nuggets held on for a 111-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Andre Iguodala had 14 points, dished out seven helpers to go along with four rebounds for the Nuggets, who have won nine straight for the first time in eight seasons. JaVale McGee donated 13 points, while connecting on 6-of-7 shooting and Ty Lawson had 11 points in the victory.
"We're going to try and shock the world and become the first team to win a championship without an All-Star," Denver coach George Karl said. "There are only about 10 true superstars in the NBA, I think, but I believe Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, and Kenneth Faried are in the next 40 players."
Alonzo Gee finished with 20 points, while shooting a perfect 8-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-3 from downtown for the Cavaliers, who saw their three- game winning streak come to an end.
Kyrie Irving paced Cleveland with 26 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the loss.
Cleveland took a 32-30 edge after one quarter of play, although Wilson Chandler provided some spark with back-to-back dunks before Irving's smooth lefty layup put the home team in front.
Gee knocked down all three of his triples during the first and scored 16 points after the first 12 minutes of play.
After both teams went toe-to-toe through most of the second quarter, Kosta Koufos' tip-in with 1:12 remaining broke a tie game and helped the Nuggets enter halftime on a 8-2 surge, while giving them a 58-52 advantage.
Gee continued to stay perfect into the second half as he tallied the Cavaliers' first two baskets -- a steal leading to a slam dunk and a reverse layup -- bringing the team within 62-56 in the early stages of the third quarter.
Denver, however, never allowed the Cavs to get closer than six points, while the visitors ended the stanza connecting on 5-of-6 free throws to extend their lead to 84-73 heading into the final quarter. Irving missed the final five- plus minutes of the third due to foul trouble.
Corey Brewer's driving dunk three minutes into the fourth put the Nuggets ahead 93-79. Wayne Ellington's triple helped the Cavs get within 101-93 with just under six minutes to play, but two Gallinari free throws with 1:20 remaining helped Denver hang on for the victory.
"We ran into a team playing very good basketball," Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. "I'm not disappointed in our effort. Tonight, they were a better team."
The visitors opened up the game on a 8-0 run before the Cavs shook off the early rust with a 17-6 flurry following Gee's 3-pointer around the midway point of the first quarter.
The Nuggets have won seven of their last nine trips to Cleveland ... For the second time this season, the Cavaliers had a chance for a four-game win streak. They have been unable to accomplish the feat in the post-LeBron James era ... The Nuggets have won 15 of 17 overall ... Chandler was the only Denver player who didn't score in double-digits ... The Cavs were outscored in the paint 62-32 ... The last time Denver won nine straight occurred during 2004-05 season, when it registered 10 straight wins.