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Nuggets top Grizzlies, snap four-game skid

Feb 27, 2007 - 5:11 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The numbers finally added up for Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson - with a lot of help from Nene.

The trio combined for 85 points as the Denver Nuggets snapped a four-game losing streak with a 111-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Anthony scored 33 points, Nene tied a career high with 27 and Iverson added 25 as the Nuggets moved into seventh place in the Western Conference standings, one-half game ahead of New Orleans.

Denver won for just the third time in 10 games with superstars Anthony and Iverson together in the lineup. That it came against Memphis, the league's second-worst team, was of no consequence.

"We just had to do anything to get a win regardless of what team it was," Iverson said. "We just needed a win for our confidence. This will make the atmosphere a little bit better around here."

"We'd lost our last three (road) games, so this was a must-win for us," Anthony said. "I think tonight we knew that. We knew we had a monkey on our back that we needed to get off and we did that."

Iverson provided the impetus in a fourth-quarter rally, scoring eight points - including a pair of 3-pointers - in a 10-2 run to help the Nuggets take a 102-97 lead with 5:03 to play.

"AI (Iverson) lifted us in the stretch where we kind of fell behind in the third," Denver coach George Karl said. "When it looked like we were struggling and searching, he jumped up for us."

Memphis fought back to tie it at 103-103 on a foul-line jumper by Pau Gasol with 3:29 left, but the Grizzlies managed just one point until Rudy Gay connected from the arc with two seconds left.

Anthony hit a pair of free throws to put Denver ahead for good and scored on a drive in the lane with 1:36 left for a 109-104 lead.

"I told somebody earlier, either we play great defense or we play bad defense," Anthony said. "Tonight, I think in the fourth quarter, we played great defense. Even though they got some second chances out there, offensive rebounding, I think we did a (heck) of a job down the stretch."

Nene finished 10-of-16 of the field and grabbed nine boards to help the Nuggets to a 45-39 edge on the glass.

"What can you say about what he did tonight? Nene played a great game and we're going to need that night in and night out," Iverson said. "There are going to be nights where myself or Carmelo is going to struggle or both of us are going to struggle and somebody else has got to pick up the slick. Tonight, Nene definitely did that.

"From the end of the second quarter through most of the third quarter I was struggling out there, and he picked up the slack."

Mike Miller scored 13 of his 21 points in the third quarter as the Grizzlies built a six-point lead before the Nuggets closed within 83-82 heading into the fourth on a 3-pointer by Anthony at the buzzer.

"Nene hasn't been healthy for awhile, so people don't understand how good he was before he hurt his knee," Miller said. "Melo and AI are two of the leading scorers in the NBA, so they're not easy to defend."

Gasol added 21 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, which lost despite shooting 52 percent (44-of-84) from the floor.

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