DENVER — Wilson Chandler carried the Denver Nuggets for almost 48 minutes. Ty Lawson took care of the final second.
Lawson hit a 23-foot jumper with 0.2 seconds showing on the clock and the Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-103 on Friday night at Pepsi Center.
“It felt good, it looked good,” Lawson said. “That was the best shot I shot all night. I was sighing when it went in.”
The packed Pepsi Center was bedlam after Lawson’s shot beat the Thunder and extended Denver’s home winning streak to 10 games. All game it was Chandler who was charging the crowd, tying his career-high with 35 points to help Nuggets overcome 38 points from Russell Westbrook.
“Honestly, I thought I’d have a pretty good night but 35? No,” he said. “I was playing in my rhythm and taking open shots.”
They were falling, too. He was 13 of 19 from the field and 6-for-7 on 3-pointers on his way to his biggest scoring night in three years.
“Thirty-five points, you don’t expect that,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He stepped up when the moment was needed and he made big shots.”
It was almost a futile effort after the Thunder rallied to tie it on Kevin Durant’s layup with 17 seconds left. After a timeout Lawson brought the ball up court, dribbled the clock down and rose up to hit a jumper over Thabo Sefolosha to give Denver its fourth straight win.
“He made a contested shot over one of our best defenders,” Brooks said. “A lot of times we’ve made that stop. He made a tough shot.”
Durant had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
The Thunder were coming off two straight 30-point wins but ran into a hot Denver team that was 20-7 since the start of 2013. The Nuggets have used the home-friendly schedule in the past two months to climb to fifth in the Western Conference race as they improved to 15-3 in their last 18 home games.
It took a strong effort from Chandler to keep the streak going on a night when Denver’s leading scorers were held in check. Lawson finished with 11 and Andre Iguodala had just four.
Danilo Gallinari, who tops the Nuggets at 16.9 points a game, had just seven in his return to the lineup from a bruised left thigh.
“We owe one to Wilson Chandler,” Nuggets coach George Karl said.
Chandler’s effort was enough to overcome a big night from Westbrook, who notched a season high in points.
“They’re tough guards so you want to make them take tough shots,” Chandler said of Durant and Westbrook. “It’s like trying to stop the sun from shining — just hope for a cloudy day.”
Despite being outscored 71-11 in bench points, the Thunder rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth to take a 97-96 lead with 3:17 left.
Andre Miller’s layup gave Denver a 101-99 lead with 1:31 left but Durant tied it with two free throws.
The score stayed that way until Chandler hit a driving layup with 22 seconds left to give Denver the lead. Durant answered with a layup to tie the game again with 17 seconds left.
Then Lawson took over.
The 71-11 disparity in bench points stood out to Durant.
“Say what? Jeesh,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of helping them out, give them a better cushion.”
The Nuggets used a 16-0 run to take the lead early in the second. Chandler had 18 points in the first half as Denver led by as many as 12, but Westbrook kept the Thunder close with 23, including a 36-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Denver’s lead to 56-47 at the break.
NOTES: Gallinari had missed four of the last seven games, but played 22 minutes Friday. He missed the first two of that stretch with a sinus infection. … Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer made their Oklahoma City debuts Wednesday night. … Karl praised Durant, saying he has made himself a better player throughout the season. “I walked by him at shootaround and told him, ‘You’re doing a hell of a job,’ ” Karl said. “‘You’re getting better every month.’ Not every year; he gets better every month. The games I’ve watched he’s looked like Magic Johnson out there. He is making passes I’ve never seen before and if he puts that in his game it makes his touches harder to cover.” … Denver leads the league in scoring in the paint, averaging 57.4 per game, 11 more than Houston, which is second. … Entering Friday’s game the Thunder were shooting 94.2 percent from the free-throw line. They made 130 of 138 in those games but missed 10 against the Nuggets.