for this game

Nuggets rally late, hold on to down shorthanded Kings

Dec 9, 2007 - 6:27 AM By Blake Redabaugh PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets finally won a game that wasn't a blowout.

Allen Iverson scored 23 points and Kenyon Martin added 20, 12 rebounds and five blocks as the Nuggets defeated the Sacramento Kings, 101-97, on Saturday.

Denver, which has won four of its last five games, collected its first win in four games that was decided by five points or less.

The Nuggets were almost unable to seal the deal late. With Denver leading, 99-97, Iverson turned the ball over with eight seconds left, leading to a fast break on the other end.

However, Kings swingman Francisco Garcia missed a 3-pointer with less than two seconds left. Iverson appeared to have fouled Garcia on the play but the Kings received no call from the referees.

"I thought (Iverson) hit my hand," Garcia said. "I don't think it's good enough that we gave ourselves a chance. It was right there and we could have won the game."

"I'll have to look at it again but I saw a foul," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "Obviously, it's not the way they saw it."

Iverson hit a pair of free throws to account for the final margin.

After Sacramento used a 22-6 burst in the middle of the third quarter to turn a 65-54 deficit into a 76-71 lead, the Nuggets closed out the period on a 6-2 run to trim the Kings' advantage to 78-77.

"We let down in the second quarter," Kings guard Beno Udrih said. "So we had to dig hard to get back and give ourselves a chance to win the game. We have to forget about it."

Neither team could establish a lead of more than four points until Denver erased an 86-84 deficit with a 10-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws by Carmelo Anthony that provided a 94-86 lead.

Sacramento responded with its own 7-0 run but was unable to retake the lead.

"This was a fortunate win," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Winning ugly is part of the NBA."

"We didn't have the best game," Martin said. "We wanted to come out and be able to finish the game the right way. We did and we got stops."

Iverson scored 19 first-half points on 6-of-8 shooting to help the Nuggets build a 59-47 lead over a shorthanded Kings squad.

Sacramento played their second game without leading scorer Kevin Martin, who is just the latest of rash of injuries for the Kings. The team has also been without guard Mike Bibby all season long and found out Friday that forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim is out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury.

John Salmons scored 25 points and Udrih added 24 for Sacramento, which remained winless on the road in eight tries.

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