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Iverson, Nuggets cruise past lowly Timberwolves

Jan 5, 2008 - 5:18 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- After edging last year's best team, Allen Iverson and the Denver Nuggets had few problems with this season's worst.

Iverson scored 33 points, including four 3-pointers, as the Nuggets cruised past the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, 118-107, on Friday.

Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and reserve Linas Kleiza added 17 off the bench for Denver, which has won six of seven, including an 80-77 victory over the world champion San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

"We knew that we had won a big game (Thursday) against a tough team," Iverson said. "We just wanted to make sure we didn't come out and have any type of letdown."

"We told ourselves that we weren't going to (fail)," Anthony said. "Tonight was a game we were supposed to get, and we went out there and got it."

Anthony Carter had 16 points and 11 assists and Marcus Camby had eight, 12 rebounds and seven blocks for the Nuggets, who swatted away 12 shots after blocking 14 vs. the Spurs the night before.

"The first half (Carter) was an incredible leader, pushing the ball," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "It seemed like he had a little spark to play well here."

Karl also took a moment to defend his club's defense.

"We are a better defensive team than people give us credit for because we do get a lot of blocks and a lot of steals and we create turnovers," Karl said. "It's not that we're there yet, we're not an every night defensive team, but we usually find our way into being a good defensively by the end of the fourth quarter."

Minnesota has dropped seven straight and 13 of 14 and continues to have the worst record in the NBA at 4-28.

"We all know that Minnesota is struggling right now," Carter said. "We wanted to come out with the same intensity and energy that we did against San Antonio. The win (Thursday) night wouldn't have meant anything if we didn't come in here and win."

Iverson, who connected on 10-of-21 shots, and Anthony, who was 11-of-20 overall, combined for 30 points at the break to give Denver a 61-51 halftime lead.

Anthony thought that Iverson was taking advantage of opportunities presented by Minnesota's defense.

"Anytime I got double-teamed somebody was open and (Iverson) was the guy tonight," Anthony said.

After the Timberwolves sliced a double-digit deficit to 106-100 on a 3-pointer by Antoine Walker with 2:47 left, the Nuggets went on a 9-4 run capped by a pair of foul shots by Iverson to make it 115-104 with 59 ticks on the clock.

Rashad McCants scored a career-high 34 points for Minnesota, which shot 45 percent (40-of-89).

"Rashad came out and was playing aggressive tonight," Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said. "He had his motor going, playing at a higher energy level. That has to be a constant. I'm not talking about just the points, I'm talking about the effort and the energy."

Al Jefferson had 24 points and 15 boards for his 11th double-double in the last 13 games for the Timberwolves, who have lost three straight vs. the Nuggets and have dropped two straight at home vs. Denver for the first time since the 1995-96 season.








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    DENVER 118
    MINNESOTA 107 FINAL

    Jan 4 10:32 PM
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    Nuggets vs. TimberwolvesJan 4 10:19 PM


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    DENVER 87
    MINNESOTA 80 END, 3RD QTR

    Jan 4 9:54 PM


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    DENVER 61
    MINNESOTA 52 HALFTIME

    Jan 4 9:10 PM


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    DENVER 30
    MINNESOTA 25 END, 1ST QTR

    Jan 4 8:35 PM
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    Nuggets vs. TimberwolvesJan 4 9:03 AM