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Iverson makes first start for new team as Nuggets win

Dec 27, 2006 - 5:56 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Allen Iverson is just being himself.

Making his first start for his new team, Iverson scored 28 points and handed out 13 assists as the Denver Nuggets posted a 116-105 victory over the Boston Celtics.

A four-time scoring champion, Iverson was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers one week ago for forward Joe Smith and a pair of 2007 first-round draft picks.

Iverson came off the bench in his Denver debut in Friday night's 101-96 loss to Sacramento, scoring 22 points and handing out 10 assists in 39 minutes.

On Tuesday, Iverson was a bit better, making 9-of-22 shots while doing his best to get his teammates involved. The superstar also overcame six turnovers in 43 minutes.

"I approach the games the same way I approached the games when I was in Philadelphia," Iverson said. "The same exact way. Play basketball, be yourself. Like I said before, obviously they wouldn't have made the trade if they didn't want me to come in here and play my game and be myself. I can't play any other way than the way I've been taught, and the way that I've had success throughout my career."

Earl Boykins scored 28 points and Eduardo Najera and Nene finished with double-doubles for the Nuggets, who used an 18-7 run to close the first half to build a 57-47 advantage at the break. Denver led the entire second half.

Boykins is not seeing Iverson having any trouble fitting in.

"Allen is a guy who pushes the ball and he fits perfect into our system," the 5-5 Boykins said. "We haven't changed anything since he's arrived. No one had to change the way they played. He's come in and fit in and he's playing great basketball and he's playing inspired. He's playing like he has something to prove. And when I'm out there with him, I just feel comfortable. He's able to get me a lot easier shots because he is able to create things off the dribble and I just enjoy playing with him."

Najera also saw the difference in Iverson's second game.

"We played more together," Najera said. "Now we know what we like doing and I think that mainly his leadership is what is helping us a lot. We needed that over the last few years. He's a great guy, a great teammate and I think that when the other guys come back we'll be even better."

Tony Allen scored 18 points and Al Jefferson contributed 16 and 15 rebounds for Boston, which was playing the opener of a five-game road trip.

Boston has lost three straight following a season-high five-game winning streak.

"The first game on the road, I thought the effort was great, I thought the execution was poor obviously," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Defensively I was disappointed. I'm not disappointed in our guys, I think they are playing hard, trying to do the right things. The focus and thought process of them is going to take work."

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