Ben Gordon

JaVale McGee’s debut with the Denver Nuggets was punctuated by a smashing finish.

And the Nuggets needed it to overcome Ben Gordon’s record-tying night from 3-point range.

McGee soared into the lane to rebound a teammate’s missed free throw and dunk with 5 seconds remaining, and the Nuggets withstood Gordon’s season-high 45 points for a 116-115 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

McGee’s rebound and slam followed a missed foul shot by Arron Afflalo, who was fouled while making a driving layup with 5.6 seconds left. That basket pulled the Nuggets within 115-114 after they had blown a 25-point lead…

Gordon, who tied the NBA record by going 9 for 9 behind the arc, said the loss was especially tough to take after coming all the way back.

“We had our shots, we just had two bad possessions at the end,” Gordon said. “Obviously the Afflalo drive; we fouled him while he was driving to the basket while we were up three. Should have just let him get the two. And the tip dunk by McGee. It came off the rim so fast and he got up there.”

Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 25 points and Afflalo had 23. McGee finished with 15.

– Reported by the Associated Press