Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/15/12
DENVER -- Andre Miller may be the graybeard on a youthful roster, but he has shown his Denver Nuggets teammates what it takes to win in this league. And his teammates are more than happy to let their veteran leader show them the way. Miller scored 18 points, all in the second half, and hit four clutch free throws in the final 10 seconds as the Nuggets hung on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-94 on Friday night at Pepsi Center. Andre Iguodala had 20 points and seven assists and Danilo Gallinari had 14 points for the Nuggets, who were playing just their seventh time at home in their first 24 games. It was Miller who led the Nuggets to a win in a rare home game. "We don't win this game without Andre Miller, without question," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "He is amazing with some of the stuff he's done and how he gets it done. Miller, 36, is eight years older than his closest teammate but he's still going strong in his 14th year in the league. It was the second time in a week he has carried the Nuggets down the stretch. In a 92-89 win over Indiana on Dec. 7 he scored eight points in a decisive 10-0 fourth-quarter run to seal that win. On Friday, he hit three buckets early in the fourth quarter and then all four free throws down the stretch to give Denver the win. "Andre Miller is clutch," teammate JaVale McGee said. "He makes all of his free throws and does all the dirty work. He's a great player." Miller, who has yet to play beyond the first round of the playoffs in his career, shrugged off the praise he was getting. "It's just one of those games where some easy baskets just came to me," he said. "Nothing was forced and that's just how the game played out." Rudy Gay scored 21 points and Mike Conley had 14 for the Grizzlies, who have dropped three games in a row. The Nuggets held Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to 10 points apiece on a combined 7-for-22 shooting. "They got some plays and made some stops," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "We shot some 3's and that was really helping us but they made plays." But it wasn't enough as Denver finally found a way to close out a close game. Gallinari drilled a 3-pointer and then hit two free throws to give the Nuggets an 89-87 lead. After Gay missed a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, Lawson hit two more free throws to give the Nuggets a four-point lead with 2:37 left. Gasol cut it to two with a pair of free throws but Iguodala rebounded an airball for a layup and then had a fast-break dunk to make it 95-89 with 1:33 left. "I actually thought he got fouled and I think a few other players thought he got fouled too, so it kind of stopped for a second and I was able to get position to get the ball and finish," Iguodala said of Gallinari's miss. The Grizzlies rallied as Randolph hit a layup and Gasol converted a three-point play to cut the lead to one with 54 seconds left. McGee's turnover gave Memphis a chance to take the lead, but Ty Lawson stripped Gay and Miller sank two free throws with 10 seconds left. Gay's 3-pointer with 5 seconds left rimmed out and Miller sealed the game with two more free throws. "Honestly it shouldn't have gotten to that point," Gay said. "I feel like we could have won this game. But whether that shot went down or not, I think it was a couple of crucial plays that happened before, earlier in the fourth quarter." The Nuggets led 45-41 at halftime but Memphis opened the third quarter with a 16-6 run to lead 57-51 midway through the period. Gay had 15 points late in the third when he picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench. With Gay on the bench, and Gasol and Randolph struggling offensively, Marreese Speights picked up some of the slack with 12 points heading into the fourth. He finished with 14. NOTES: There was a moment of silence before the national anthem for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. ... Friday's game was just the sixth home game of the season for the Nuggets. They are the first team since the 1985-86 Chicago Bulls to play 17 of their first 23 games on the road. It has affected the team, which will play just 10 home games before January. "Walking around the mall is fun and we're not going to have many days to do that," Karl said. "It's a helluva Christmas present, the schedule they gave us around Christmas."
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