Ty Lawson's runner with 9.3 seconds remaining lifted the Denver Nuggets to a 112-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center to clinch home-court advantage in the upcoming NBA playoffs.
Monta Ellis, who dropped a game-high 38 points on 14-of-25 from the field, put the Bucks up by one with a four-point play with 14.2 left on the clock before Lawson came back down and won it for Denver. J.J. Redick's 3-point try at the buzzer was off the mark.
Lawson paced Denver with 26 points and seven assists. Wilson Chandler netted 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, Andre Iguodala stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, eight rebounds and seven helpers while JaVale McGee corralled 17 rebounds off the bench.
"It was a tough back-and-forth game," Lawson said. "For us to win this game and get home court makes our chances a lot better getting to the second round."
Redick hit four triples en route to 20 points off the bench for Milwaukee, which has already secured the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. John Henson went for 14 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots while Ersan Ilyasova also contributed a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards.
The fourth quarter featured 12 lead changes and three ties before Denver pulled ahead with 5:41 remaining, 98-92, following a McGee free throw. Milwaukee stormed right back with eight straight from Ellis to keep it close.
"Ellis has been a warrior for us all year," Bucks interim head coach Jim Boylan said. "There's not many guys in the league that can do what he does."
Denver led by as many as 10 points late in the third period before allowing the Bucks back in the game. Milwaukee ended the stanza on a 6-0 run.
The Nuggets headed into halftime leading 56-53 despite both teams shooting below 44 percent from the field.
Lawson wasted no time getting involved in the action, scoring 12 points as the Nuggets led 32-26 after the opening 12 minutes.
Brandon Jennings shot 1-of-11 for four points for Milwaukee ... Evan Fournier had 12 points for Denver, giving him six double digit scoring games this season and four in the month of April ... Denver outrebounded the Bucks, 40-26.