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Iverson, Anthony lead Nuggets over Hornets

Mar 7, 2007 - 6:49 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets picked the right time to finally beat the New Orleans Hornets.

Allen Iverson scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony added 21 as the Nuggets posted a 106-91 victory over the Hornets.

Nene added 15 points and 14 rebounds as Denver beat New Orleans for the first time in three matchups this season.

The win was especially crucial as the Nuggets opened a 2 1/2-game lead, including four in the loss column, over the Hornets, in the race for one of the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.

"Big time, we need any (win) we can get," Iverson said. "You got to concentrate and take it one game at a time. Just worry about the game we are playing. It was a big game, but the rest of these games from here on out will be big games."

Denver took control in the middle two periods, shooting 53 percent and outscoring New Orleans, 63-40, to take an 87-65 cushion into the final 12 minutes.

The Nuggets used an 18-4 spurt in the second period, capped by an Iverson 3-pointer, to take a 46-36 lead with 3:18 left in the half and never let the Hornets get closer than eight points thereafter.

"They were just aggressive," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "Denver just did a good job of being aggressive and coming at us. We got back on our heels and didn't have any fire until the last three minutes of the third quarter. It was just a matter of them being more aggressive than we were tonight."

The Hornets did not go quietly as Rasual Butler nailed three 3-pointers and Jannero Pargo hit back-to-back baskets to slice the deficit to 96-88 with just under five minutes left.

Iverson restored order, hitting a baseline jumper and a layup in a 7-0 run to put the Hornets away.

Defensively it was one of the best games we've played in a long while," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Marcus played solid defense for us tonight. You probably can't evaluate the playoff situation until around March 15th. The conditioning of our team is not where it is supposed to be right now. Fatigue in the fourth quarter has been a factor way too many times."

While Anthony scored nine points less than his league-leading 30.4 average, he had a solid all-around game with seven rebounds and six assists.

With his wife expecting a baby at any moment, Anthony was just as motivated by being told that he acts like one.

In a story in the Denver Post, Karl said he'd consider benching Anthony if his star forward didn't mature. Anthony admitted he took it personally.

"Oh of course, all of it. Cause what I read is not true," Anthony said. "I'm not an immature person, I know that. Hopefully you guys know that. Just last week I was the most mature person in the whole NBA, now I'm immature.

"I just wanted to come out and just win a basketball game and prove to people I don't have to score 30 points to win a basketball game. ... Tonight I didn't have to do that. You know, 21 points, six rebounds, seven assists or something like that, it's great for me with a win. I love that more than I love going out there trying to score 30 points per night."

Tyson Chandler had his 13th straight double-double with 15 points and 18 rebounds and Chris Paul added 13 and 14 assists for New Orleans, which shot 39 percent (36-of-92).

"We've got to get back to the lab and study some game film and see what the problem is," Chandler said. "We've got to see where the break downs keep coming from. It was definitely one of the more frustrating losses because I feel like it is a game we could have won. We came out and with energy and started the game great, but we let them go on a run."

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