This. One's. For. Gallo.
With Danilo Gallinari out of the game because of a knee injury -- a source close to the situation said Gallo thinks it's an ACL tear -- Nuggets teammate Andre Iguodala made a stupendous drive from the right wing. Dre hit the left-handed layup, with 2.8 seconds left, giving Denver the lead Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
"I whispered to A.I.: 'If they're disrupting Andre (Miller), you've got to go,' and he finished the shot," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "It's a win, but it doesn't feel as exuberant."
Corey Brewer then blocked Anthony Morrow's shot at the buzzer, and the Nuggets won at home 95-94 in the second game of a back-to-back set.
But the Gallinari injury looks bad. A source close to the situation said Gallinari "heard a pop" when his knee buckled and that Gallo "thinks it's a torn ACL."
Denver's No. 2 scorer buckled his left knee in the second quarter, collapsing to the floor. It looked bad. Real bad. Gallinari is scheduled for an MRI on Friday morning, but the way he hobbled off the court, fell upon a stretcher and screamed in pain, it would suggest it looked more severe than a sprain.
"I can't deny — it didn't look good," Karl said. "I usually look at the player's face. He was scared. ... But I've had ones look bad and (the MRI) turned out to be OK. Nene went down a couple of years ago and it was just a sprain."
Gallinari entered the night averaging 16.3 points per game, and he's a key cog in the Nuggets' machine, playing small forward, floating 3s and driving hard to the hoop.
Here's how it happened: In the second quarter, Gallinari was on the right perimeter when he darted past Dirk Nowitzki, dribbling with his left hand from near the top of the key. Open and now near the basket, Gallinari tried to plant his left leg and jump, but the leg buckled with 4:27 left in the quarter. He hobbled for a few moments and then fell to the hardwood on the baseline, while the game continued. Soon, play stopped and trainers, coaches and teammates rushed to the small forward. He used teammates as crutches to get toward the tunnel to leave the court, where he landed on the stretcher.