Anthony leads Nuggets over Jazz to earn playoff berthApr 12, 2007 - 6:25 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets are peaking at the right time while the Utah Jazz are doing the complete opposite.
Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points to lead all five starters in double figures as the Nuggets clinched a playoff berth with a 115-106 victory over the slumping Jazz.
Allen Iverson had 22 points and 12 assists and Nene had 19 and nine rebounds Marcus Camby for Denver (42-36), which has won a season-high seven straight games to push its lead to two games for the sixth place in the Western Conference standings.
"It's a good feeling," Iverson said. "I didn't make the playoffs last year, and that was really tough for me. So I'm just glad to be back and have an opportunity to win a championship. I just feel like the sky's the limit for us."
During this seven-game stretch, Anthony and Iverson are combining for 52.7 points and 10.9 assists per game with the Nuggets scoring more than 106 points.
"We just started to click. We started to play together, everybody started to have fun out there on the court," Anthony said. "We're keeping our composure and we're winning games."
Denver center Marcus Camby controlled the paint, finishing with 13 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks. It was the second time this season that Camby has rejected at least seven shots in consecutive games.
"Marcus, defensively, just continues to be on a roll," Denver coach George Karl said. "This is about seven or eight games that he's been a problem defensively with his activity, and his rebounding has been incredible in this run. I think he's probably been our most valuable player in this stretch."
The Jazz (48-30) have dropped a season-worst five games in a row in losing control of home-court advantage in the first round of the Western playoffs to Houston (50-29), which has a 1 1/2-game lead for the fourth-best record in the conference.
Late in the fourth quarter, All-Star Carlos Boozer scored on back-to-back baskets to help Utah pull within 109-106 at the 1:40 mark.
But Denver's Steve Blake found Nene for an easy layup, then hit two free throws and Iverson tacked on a pair of foul shots to seal the triumph.
"I think what I'm happy about is that we're just approaching each game the same way," Iverson said. "We had won six games in a row, but we didn't care about that - we were concerned about this game right here. And that's important."
Matt Harpring netted 31 points off the bench and Deron Williams collected 18 and 14 assists for the Jazz, who shot 49 percent (45-of-91) from the floor.
"The lessons to be learned from the last two or three weeks kind of has destroyed a little bit of a great season," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Look at where this team could have been if we would have just a little better effort on three or four more different occasions."
UTAH 106 FINAL
Apr 11 11:35 PM
UTAH 78 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 11 11:04 PM
UTAH 48 HALFTIME
Apr 11 10:06 PM
UTAH 21 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 11 9:34 PM
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