Denver, CO – Andre Miller netted 18 points off the bench, including four big free throws down the stretch, as the Denver Nuggets held off the Memphis Grizzlies, 99-94, on Friday night at Pepsi Center.
Andre Iguodala led the Nuggets with 20 points, seven assists and five steals, while Danilo Gallinari chipped in 14 points in the victory, Denver's second in its last three games.
Rudy Gay poured in a game-high 21 points, but missed a potential game-tying 3- pointer with under 10 seconds remaining to send the Grizzlies to their third straight loss.
"It felt good. I got my timing down and my feet under me," Gay said of his final shot. "Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't."
The teams entered the fourth quarter locked at 69-69 and it remained a one- possession contest for much of the frame until Gallinari and Ty Lawson each knocked down a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions to give Denver a 91-87 edge with 2:37 left in the game.
With the margin at four a minute later, Iguodala came up with a steal and finished an emphatic dunk at the other end to extend Denver's lead to 95-89 with 93 seconds remaining.
Zach Randolph answered with a layup at the other end and after Gallinari missed a long jumper, Marc Gasol converted a three-point play to make it 95-94 with 53.8 ticks on the clock.
Memphis came up with a turnover on Denver's next touch, but Gay had the ball stripped away as he drove the lane before Miller sank a pair of free throws at the other end to give Denver a three-point lead with 10.2 seconds left.
After a timeout, Gay got a good look at a triple, but it went halfway down and bounced out before landing in the arms of Miller, who knocked down two more free throws to put the game away.
"It was good for us, especially because we've been struggling. I think we're last in the league in free throws," Miller said. "I'm surprised they didn't foul our bigs a lot more, but we were able to squeeze out a win."
Memphis shot a woeful 23.1 percent (6-for-26) from the field over the opening 12 minutes, but trailed by just one, 17-16, at the end of the frame thanks to seven offensive rebounds leading to 11 second-chance points.
The Grizzlies found their rhythm early in the second, as Marreese Speights bookended a 13-0 Memphis run with a pair of jumpers to give the visitors a 31-21 advantage, but the Nuggets closed the quarter on a 14-5 swing to take a 45-41 edge into the locker room.
Neither team led by more than five in a tightly-contested third quarter that featured eight lead changes and four ties, as Wayne Ellington buried a corner 3-pointer just before the third quarter buzzer to send the teams into the final frame locked at 69-69.
Gay has scored at least 14 points in every game this season, extending his streak to a career-high 23 consecutive games ... Memphis has lost nine of 10 and 26 of the last 28 games as the guest in this matchup ... Denver improved to 6-1 at home this season ... Gasol and Randolph each finished with 10 points.