Anthony, Iverson spoil Durant's debut as Nuggets edge SonicsNov 1, 2007 - 6:39 AM By Blake Redabaugh PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DENVER (Ticker) - The Seattle SuperSonics were hoping for a better start to the Kevin Durant era.
Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points and Allen Iverson contributed 25, 14 assists and seven steals as the Denver Nuggets rolled to a 120-103 victory over the SuperSonics in Wednesday's season opener for both teams.
Durant, the No. 2 overall pick in June's draft, was questionable for his NBA debut due to a sprained left ankle sustained last week. But the 19-year-old didn't put on the show he would have liked, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting.
"I can't describe it (his debut), it was a great feeling," Durant said. "My teammates did a great job of getting me open shots. I just need to knock them down."
"I thought (Durant) played well," Iverson said. "He wanted to play well and, at times, he might have tried too hard. You have to be excited about where he's headed."
The two teams came out firing, as Denver took a 35-31 lead at the end of the first quarter, behind Anthony's 14-point outburst on 5-of-7 shooting.
Delonte West's fast-break dunk with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter capped an impressive 14-4 surge to help the Sonics earn their only lead of the second half at 79-78.
However, Linas Kleiza led the charge as the Nuggets answered back with a game-changing 28-11 run bridging the third and fourth for a 106-90 lead with 5:46 left. Kleiza made four 3-pointers and the Nuggets forced nine turnovers during the run.
"It's always good when you know you have teammates who trust you," Kleiza said. "We definitely wanted to start the season good. It's a great win for us."
"Our energy was good," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I thought our defense in the third and fourth quarter was the reason we won this game."
Kleiza scored 18 points and Eduardo Najera added 14 for the Nuggets, who snapped a three-game losing streak in season openers.
Damien Wilkins collected 21 points and eight rebounds while West chipped in with 19 points off the bench for Seattle, which shot 41 percent (40-of-96) from the field.
"We had a good effort for about three quarters," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "At one point, we turned it over five straight times, and that's when the game got away from us. We're not where we need to be yet."
Denver's Kenyon Martin saw his first action since undergoing season-ending microfracture surgery on his right knee after playing in two games last season. He scored seven points.
DENVER 120 FINAL
Nov 1 1:08 AM
DENVER 86 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 1 12:31 AM
DENVER 59 HALFTIME
Oct 31 11:46 PM
DENVER 35 END, 1ST QTR
Oct 31 11:07 PM
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