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Allen Iverson posted 22 points and 11 assists in the Nuggets' win over the Hornets on Wednesday.
Denver 105, New Orleans 99
DENVER, Dec. 12 (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony found his rhythm just in time for the Denver Nuggets.
Anthony scored 15 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play with 38.4 seconds left, to lift the Nuggets to a 105-99 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.
Anthony, who has struggled with his shot over the last week, was 3-for-17 early but was 7-for-11 down the stretch.
"I've been trying to get my rhythm back on my shot,'' Anthony said. "I thought my shots tonight were good, they just weren't going in.''
That was the case in his previous three games, when he was 24-for-69 from the field.
"I know it was frustrating for him in the beginning because he couldn't catch a rhythm,'' Iverson said. "He was getting beat up on some plays and they weren't calling it. It says a lot about him to stay with it and keep playing.''
Anthony scored 12 of Denver's last 14 points to help the Nuggets pull away. His two free throws gave Denver the lead at 93-92, and he hit three straight shots to make it 99-96.
Chris Paul, who had 30 points and 12 assists, made a 3-pointer to tie it at 99, but Camby's tip-in with 1:41 left made it 101-99. Anthony then made a layup and a free throw to seal the game.
"The last rebound that Marcus tipped in, we did a good job on the defensive end, and we had two guys there, but somehow he got it and put it in,'' Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "That was a great play on his part, bad play on our part.''
Anthony said he attacked the basket the whole game but the shots weren't falling. In the fourth, he was 5-for-8 and seven of his points came when he went to the basket.
"In the fourth quarter, I made it my priority and forced the refs to give me some calls,'' said Anthony, who was 11-for-13 from the line.
The Nuggets where happy with their defense in the fourth, when they held the Hornets to 33.3 percent shooting in the fourth quarter and outscored them 28-18.
"I think it's one of our best games of the year, to not play offensively and still score 105 and win a game with a defensive dimension down the stretch,'' Nuggets coach George Karl said.
The Nuggets trailed 86-80 when Iverson converted a three-point play and Anthony and Eduardo Najera made consecutive 3-pointers to give Denver an 89-86 lead.
"In the fourth quarter, they had more intensity,'' said Paul, who has 10 double-doubles this season. "We matched it for the most part, but for the last five minutes or so, we couldn't' contain them. I think it was more their defense.''
The Nuggets' defense came alive late in the first half. Denver trailed 59-45 with 41.9 seconds left in the second quarter before surging. Najera made a jumper and Anthony's put-back dunk with 35.9 left in the second ignited a Nuggets run that reached 15-0 with 9:17 left in the third. Rasual Butler ended the drought with a layup, and David West scored six of his 25 points to make it 71-62 with 6:34 left in the third.
"At the end of the first half we started to show some life, and the energy level was high. We carried it on to the second half,'' Iverson said.
Paul and Butler did most of the damage in the first half. Paul had 19 points and seven assists and Butler had 14. Butler, who was 4-for-21 from 3-point range since Nov. 16, was 4-for-4 from long range in the first half.
Notes: Hornets F Melvin Ely was elbowed by Martin with 9:49 left in the first half and had a bruised left eye. He did not return. Martin was hit with a technical for the elbow, one of three technicals by the Nuggets in the game. ... Camby and Tyson Chandler rank second and fifth in rebounds in the NBA, while Paul and Iverson rank first and third in steals. ... Hornets G-F Morris Peterson (strained back) and G-F Peja Stojakovic (groin pull) sat out their second straight games. ... Najera has more 3-pointers this season (18) than he had in he had in his seven-year career combined (14).