Iversonís Jumper Lifts Sixers Past Nuggets
Philadelphia 108, Denver 106
DENVER, Dec. 27 (Ticker) -- Carmelo Anthony didn't have enough help to offset Allen Iverson and Chris Webber.
Iverson's jumper with 4.2 seconds left capped a 36-point effort and Webber finished with 32 points and 15 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers overcame a career night by Anthony with a 108-106 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
"In a nutshell, a great player made a great shot to win the game," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Their gas was a little fuller than ours at the end. Carmelo Anthony gave us a great game, it just wasn't enough."
Anthony's last basket with 3:04 remaining gave the Nuggets a 100-96 lead. Iverson answered with a three-point play and, after the teams traded a pair of free throws, made a steal, tracked down the loose ball with a dive and finished the sequence with a layup for a 103-102 edge with 1:54 to go.
"That was probably the biggest play of the game, with the steal and diving on the floor to give us an opportunity to score," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "It looked like we weren't going to get the ball. It was great for us to win a game like that."
Eduardo Najera and Earl Boykins sandwiched baskets around a layup by Webber to give Denver a 106-105 advantage, but Andre Iguodala's free throw with 48 seconds left erased the Nuggets' last lead.
Iverson had a block before Earl Watson missed a 3-pointer on the other end and Philadelphia called timeout with 21 seconds left. Iverson took the inbounds pass and dribbled the clock down before burying a jumper over Andre Miller from the top of the key with one second remaining on the shot clock.
"I thought I got a pretty good look," said Iverson, who scored 22 points in the second half. "(Miller) still had a hand in my face. I was honestly surprised that he let me wind the clock down and take a shot. He had this look on his face like he was going to take care of business, but fortunately he wasn't able to."
Miller backed off momentarily when Iverson made his approach, perhaps anticipating a drive or pass to Webber on the left side.
"(Iverson) is a good player and he knocked it down," Miller said. "He went early, but I got a hand up on the shot."
Anthony got the ensuing inbounds after a timeout and skipped a cross-court pass to Watson, whose 3-pointer at the buzzer glanced off the front of the rim.
"At the end, I was double-teamed and I knew I wasn't going to get the shot," Anthony said. "We had a chance to win. We had a shot and we missed it. Now we have to get past it and move on."
John Salmons made a rush toward Watson before joining his teammates in a jubilant celebration as the shot fell short and Philadelphia improved to 7-2 since a four-game losing streak.
"Poise is something we've been working on," Webber said. "We've been working on that in practice, playing with leads and playing from behind. You have to act like you have been there before, and we did that today."
Miller and Watson both scored 15 points, but Denver was dominated underneath without its top two big men. Kenyon Martin missed his second straight game with a variety of injuries and Marcus Camby played just six minutes before leaving with a nagging hand ailment.
Philadelphia capitalized by claiming a 46-35 advantage on the boards and recording 15 blocked shots to Denver's four.
"Sometimes with our rebounding habits, we rely so much on Marcus Camby that we forget about doing our responsibilities," Karl said of his team's reliance on the league's leading rebounder. "Our intensity was great, but there wasn't a strong focus on rebounding the ball."
Najera had 10 boards and Anthony eight for the Nuggets, whose last three losses have come by a total of 11 points.
Kyle Korver made 4-of-5 3-pointers en route to 18 points for the Sixers, who are 1-1 on a season-high seven-game road trip.
Webber and Anthony scored all of their teams' points in the opening moments to forge an 8-8 tie. Iverson followed with a 17-footer and Philadelphia remained ahead until Watson opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to break an 80-80 deadlock.
Korver hit a pair from the arc to highlight a 13-2 burst and give the Sixers a 93-87 lead midway through the period. Anthony had seven points in an 11-0 spurt that left Denver with its largest lead, 98-93, with 3:55 left.