Denver 110, LA Clippers 104

DENVER, Feb. 29 (AP) - Allen Iverson wasn't trying to take over the game down the stretch.

It just happened - like it typically does for him.

Iverson scored 38 points, including two big jumpers in the final two minutes, and Carmelo Anthony added 30, helping the Denver Nuggets hold on for a 110-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

"My whole thing was not so much taking over, but just trying to win the basketball game,'' he said. "I got a couple of good looks at the end.''

Iverson put the Nuggets ahead for good with an 18-foot, off-balance floater with 1:23 remaining. Anthony sealed the Nuggets' second straight win with a critical rebound and putback with 43 seconds left.

Anthony's work on the boards earned glowing praise from Iverson after the game. He finished with 14 rebounds, two shy of his career high.

"When he puts his mind to it, he can do anything on the basketball court,'' Iverson said. "He can dominate in every aspect. Rebounding, that's all effort. When Melo gets down low and starts banging with those guys, it's hard for people to defend him.''

Anthony credited his aggressive play on the boards to simply wanting to take the pressure off Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin.

"I know I can do it,'' he said. "I know when I want to do it, and when I do it, nobody can stop me.''

He'll receive no arguments from Denver coach George Karl. He wouldn't mind seeing that type of rebounding performance from Anthony all the time.

"He won tonight with rebounding,'' said Karl, who picked up his 864th victory, tying him with Jack Ramsay for 10th place on the career coaching list. "The rebound and putback were great.''

The Clippers, down by as many as 13 points in the second half, momentarily took the lead on two free throws by Corey Maggette with 2:17 left.

However, Iverson worked his way free and hit a jumper to tie it at 104. On the next trip, he gave Denver a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

"My shot felt good from the beginning of the game until the end,'' Iverson said.

The Nuggets were coming off a 138-96 rout of Seattle in which they shot a franchise-record 67 percent from the floor. Denver couldn't keep up the blistering pace, shooting 45 percent against Los Angeles.

Camby had 12 points and 17 rebounds, his 23rd double-double of the season, and Martin added 13 points.

Al Thornton came off the bench to tie a career high with 33 points and set a new high in rebounds with 12. Maggette added 28 points, while Brevin Knight had a season-high 12 assists as the Clippers dropped their fourth straight game.

"We're playing as hard as we can, but unfortunately they have two All-Stars over there that finished the game off,'' Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Iverson made some great shots, made some great plays down the stretch and our guys did the best that they could.''

Maggette couldn't fault with his team's play. He just wishes the Clippers weren't so banged up.

"We played them hard with what we got going on,'' he said.

The Clippers were without big man Chris Kaman, who missed his fourth straight game with a sore lower back.

They also waived popular point guard Sam Cassell on Thursday, opening the door for him to sign with a contender such as the Boston Celtics.

"Sam meant a lot to this team,'' Maggette said. "He brought leadership, he brought us together. We understand. It's a business.''

Notes: Clippers forward Nick Fazekas played high school hoops close by in a suburb of Denver. Fazekas, who signed a 10-day contract with the team on Feb. 25, played more than four minutes, but didn't score. ... Clippers forward Elton Brand is traveling with the team as he rehabilitates his ruptured left Achilles' tendon. Brand was hurt at the team's practice facility in August. "He's not back, but he's moving in the right direction,'' Dunleavy said before the game. ... Denver is 2-4 on Feb. 29 since joining the NBA. ... The Nuggets were 2-0 against Los Angeles at the Pepsi Center this season, their first home sweep of the Clippers since 2000-01. ... Clippers F Tim Thomas strained his left groin late in the game and didn't return.


Copyright 2008 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited