Nuggets 106, Grizzlies 102 (F)

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 30 (AP) -- Trailing by seven points with 3:12 left, the Denver Nuggets didn't panic. They made veteran plays.

The Memphis Grizzlies were hurt by their youth.

Allen Iverson had 32 points and 12 assists Wednesday night, and the Nuggets used a late run to beat the Grizzlies 106-102.

"This was a big win for us at somebody else's home,'' Iverson said. "Down seven points with 3 minutes to go. It was a gut check for us. I think a game like this is going to help us down the road.''

Memphis had built its lead with a 6-0 run after Rudy Gay's 11-footer with 3:12 left, before Denver answered with a 12-0 spurt to seize control.

Iverson made all six of his free throws in the final 23.2 seconds, helping the Nuggets snap a six-game road losing streak that included losses at Dallas and New Orleans at the start of the three-game road trip.

"It was definitely important,'' Denver center Marcus Camby said. "We got our butts kicked the other night down in New Orleans against a great team. We wanted to salvage the rest of this three-game road trip.

"We had to stop the losing streak.''

Anthony Carter finished with 18 points, five during the decisive rally, while Linas Kleiza added 15 for the Nuggets. Camby had 13 points and 19 rebounds.

Gay led Memphis with 30 points and 10 rebounds, and Mike Miller contributed 22 points. Kyle Lowry scored 19 and Darko Milicic finished with 14 points and matched his career high with 16 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have lost four of five.

"It's the same story as before,'' Milicic said. "(We) just can't find ways to win.''

Both teams were short-handed. The Nuggets were without Carmelo Anthony, the league's fourth-leading scorer, who missed his fifth game with a left ankle sprain. That, and previous injuries to guard Chucky Atkins and forward Nene, left Denver with 10 players dressed.

Memphis had one less because of injuries to guard Mike Conley and Pau Gasol, the team's second-leading scorer and leading rebounder. Also, forward Stromile Swift was suspended for the game after an exchange with Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni in Monday's loss to Dallas.

Denver's rally came from missed shots and a pair of turnovers from the Grizzlies. Camby blocked his fifth shot of the night during the stretch, and the Nuggets used their defense to turn the game.

"Unfortunately, we were our own worst enemies with the turnovers once again and not getting back well against a very, very good fast-break team,'' Iavaroni said.

While Memphis held a 51-39 advantage on the boards, Denver dominated the paint 60-40.

Iverson did everything possible to carry the Nuggets in the first half, scoring 21 points and handing out seven assists as Denver took a 54-52 lead into the locker room.

Denver committed seven turnovers in the opening quarter, and neither team seemed to be in a rhythm offensively. Memphis missed nine of 10 3-point attempts in the half and both teams had nine turnovers at the break.

There was poor ballhandling, wayward passes and mouthing about calls and no-calls.

At one point in the second quarter, Iverson opted out of a breakaway layup for a pass to J.R. Smith, who blew a reverse dunk. The next time down the floor, Smith misfired on a second slam, which Miller converted into a 20-foot jumper.

The Nuggets picked up their shooting touch in the second quarter and erased an early 11-point Memphis lead. They finished the night shooting 51 percent.

The teams stayed close in the second half, including a handful of ties in the third quarter. Miller scored eight points in the first 3 minutes of the period. Meanwhile, Iverson missed all seven of his shots, and Memphis carried a 78-73 lead into the final quarter.

"I got real good shots in the second half. The same shots I got in the first half,'' Iverson said. "I just went ice cold.''

Camby said the difference in the final rally was converting on offense.

"We just knew if we kept being aggressive, shots were going to fall,'' Camby said. "Guys were missing a lot of easy shots throughout the ballgame that they normally make.

"We just knew we needed to get a consecutive streak of defensive stops in order for us to take the lead.''

Notes: Memphis is in the midst of a five-game homestand, its longest of the season. ... Iverson has at least 20 points in 41 of the Nuggets' 45 games, including the last 15. ... Denver, which leads the NBA in steals with 9.2, had 12 in the game. ... Denver is 3-2 without Anthony. ...Gay has scored at least 30 points four times without Gasol in the lineup.


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