Notebook: Nuggets 112, Bucks 111

Posted Apr 16, 2013 12:34 AM

Rick Braun, for

THE FACTS: Ty Lawson scored on a short jumper in the lane with 9.3 seconds left to cap a 26-point performance and lift the Denver Nuggets to a 112-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

With the victory, the Nuggets (56-25) clinched home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Monta Ellis' four-point play with 14.2 seconds left had given the Bucks (37-44) a 111-110 lead and capped a 19-point quarter for Ellis, who led all scorers with 38 points.

But after a timeout, Lawson took a handoff from Wilson Chandler and drove into the lane. With Ellis giving ground, Chandler pulled up and hit a 10-footer.

The Bucks have lost five straight and are 3-12 in their last 15 games.

QUOTABLE: "I saw the clean side and just started pushing real hard. I knew he was going to bite if I pushed it to the basket. I stepped back and had all the time in the world to make the shot."

-- Lawson on his game-winning shot

THE STATS: The Nuggets continually got into the lane, which lead to a 56-44 advantage in points in the paint and a 17-point advantage in made free throws.

TURNING POINT: After Ellis' four-point play, the Bucks had some momentum, but the Nuggets had Lawson. When his short jumper fell, the Bucks had no timeouts left. Ellis brought the ball upcourt but nearly lost it. The ball was tipped to J.J. Redick, whose 3-pointer was contested by Chandler and bounced off at the horn.

QUOTABLE II: "I think it's huge. Don't get me wrong, the team we'll play in the first round is capable of beating us on our home court. I always felt home court, if it's an even series, it's tough to win twice on their home court. I don't know who we'll get, but it's going to be a good team. And our home court, I know teams don't like to play there."

-- Nuggets coach George Karl on clinching home court for the first round

HOT: Ellis was 7-for-11 and 4-for-5 on 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and 14-for-25 and 6-for-11 on 3s for the game.

NOT: Ellis' backcourt mate Brandon Jennings went just 1-for-11, 0-for-5 from behind the arc.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Ellis' 38-point night was one short of his season-high of 39 set against Orlando March 17.

BAD MOVE: Ersan Ilyasova cleared a rebound with just under a minute left and the Bucks holding a 107-106 lead, but with no one pressuring him he fumbled the ball out of bounds. Andre Iguodala capitalized on that mistake with a basket that gave the Nuggets a 108-107 lead with 51.9 seconds left.

ROOKIE WATCH: John Henson started at center for the Bucks in place of injured Larry Sanders and had 14 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots.

NOTABLE: The Nuggets remained a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies, who won at Dallas. They're also 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, who host the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday. ... The Nuggets swept the season series with the Bucks for the third straight season. ... The Bucks finished the home portion of their schedule with a 21-20 record. ... The Nuggets finished their road schedule at 19-22. ... JaVale McGee grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds in just 24 1/2 minutes. ... The Nuggets announced that forward Kenneth Faried had an MRI and showed a sprained left ankle. He won't play in the regular-season finale but is listed as day-to-day for the playoffs.

UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Wednesday vs. Phoenix. For the Bucks, Wednesday @ Oklahoma City.