Kenyon Martin took a bounce pass from Chauncey Billups and drove for the go-ahead dunk with 9 seconds left Friday night to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 105-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Andre Iguodala of the 76ers got called for traveling on the next possession and Andre Miller got called for a technical foul with 2.9 seconds left. Billups made the free throw, then Chucky Atkins made two more to push the lead to four and seal Philly’s third straight loss.
J.R. Smith hit seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 27 points for the Nuggets, who trailed by as many as 17 midway through the third quarter and needed a season-high 15 3s to avoid their fifth loss in six games.
Iguodala led Philly with 24 points, but didn’t score after finishing a three-point play to give the Sixers an 88-76 lead with 8:20 left.
Billups finished with 26 points and 10 assists. Nene had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Miller, used as trade fodder two seasons ago when the Nuggets dealt for Allen Iverson, had 19 points and eight assists for the Sixers. Louis Williams finished with 16 points and his nice alley-oop to Marreesse Speights gave Philly a 101-100 lead with 17.7 seconds to set the stage for Martin.
Trailing by 12, the Nuggets went on a 20-7 run to grab the lead with 2:29 left and it was almost exclusively from behind the 3-point line. Playing without Carmelo Anthony (elbow) for the third straight game, the Nuggets went 12 straight minutes in the third and fourth quarters without making anything from the field but 3s.
Smith’s 3-pointer with 2:29 left gave Denver a 96-95 lead, its first since the first half.
Funny, then, that the Nuggets won the game by going hard to the bucket. Martin took a bounce pass from Billups at the top of the key and, uncovered, drove hard to the hoop where he dunked over Sam Dalembert for the go-ahead points.