Denver 111, Orlando 101

Denver, Feb. 28 (AP) -- Nuggets forward Eduardo Najera was bragging in practice about how at age 30 he still could leap out of the gym.

Allen Iverson called him on it. Najera may be able to get up in practice, but Iverson wanted to see it in live action.

So Najera showed Iverson - and everyone else - his leaping prowess when he dunked over Orlando's Darko Milicic in the Denver Nuggets' 111-101 win over the Magic on Wednesday night.

Najera even impressed himself on the fourth-quarter dunk. He finished 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting.

"Now and then - I know I'm getting older - but I'll get up,'' he said. "I was feeling pretty good today. I was jumping all over the place.''

Iverson was impressed.

"He's been talking about his hops in practice, and it didn't surprise me,'' Iverson said. "It was just nice to see him do it in a game.''

Iverson scored 34 points and had seven assists, playing on a tender ankle.

"My ankle isn't 100 percent yet, but it's a lot better than it has been, and it's feeling better and better every game,'' Iverson said.

Carmelo Anthony finished with 23 points and Najera and Linas Kleiza provided a spark off the bench for Denver. Kleiza hit three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

"I got some opportunities and a couple shots went down,'' he said.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 23 points and 12 boards, his eighth straight double-double, which ties a career best. He now has 42 double-doubles this season, which is second in the league only to Minnesota's Kevin Garnett, who has 50.

Jameer Nelson had 16 points and Keyon Dooling added 14 for the Magic, who have lost five of six.

What bothered Orlando coach Brian Hill more than anything was the 25 turnovers and the 32 points the Nuggets scored off them.

"Almost a third of their points came off our turnovers,'' Hill said. "You can't do it and win. We had no gas in the tank. We were a step behind on everything.''

A concerning sight for the Magic was Grant Hill limping toward the team bus after the game. He didn't play in the second half due to a sore left foot. He was 0-for-4 with two rebounds in 13 minutes.

"We'll look at it again in Orlando,'' the Magic coach said.

The magic number for Denver this season has been 100 points. They're 0-18 when scoring less than that, and the only team in the league without a win below the 100-point mark. They're 13-1 at home when scoring more than 110 points.

The Nuggets had lost 10 games this season when leading after three quarters, but opened up some room late in the fourth quarter. After Pat Garrity's 3-pointer cut Denver's lead to 101-96 with 2:19 remaining, the Nuggets scored six straight to put the game out of reach.

The Nuggets used an 11-0 run in the third quarter to open up a 73-60 lead.

"We passed the ball much better tonight,'' said coach George Karl, whose team had 28 assists.

Marcus Camby finished with 10 points despite being questionable for the second half with a strained calf. He played the entire third quarter but not in the fourth.

Anthony and his fiancee, LaLa Vasquez, are expecting the arrival of their baby boy sometime next week.

He was all smiles before and after the game. A baby on the way and winning will do that.

"I can't wait,'' Anthony said of the birth of his first child. "Days we lose games and we don't play so good, I can just go home and look forward to playing with my son.''

Notes: Magic forward Tony Battie, currently on the inactive list, could be back as early as this weekend after missing the last 10 games with a fractured right thumb. ... Nuggets guard J.R. Smith was in attendance Wednesday night. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Feb. 21 after suffering a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee against San Antonio. He's now missed four games, but is expected back in two-to-three weeks. ... Nene had 12 points, but drew two big charging calls late in the fourth quarter. ... Denver has now won four straight against the Magic in Denver.


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