104 - 110 Final
  for this game

Nuggets fend off Clippers

Mar 1, 2008 - 7:22 AM By Blake Redabaugh PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) -- To make the playoffs the Denver Nuggets must take care of lowly opponents like the Los Angeles Clippers.

Allen Iverson scored 38 points and Carmelo Anthony added 30 and 14 rebounds as the Nuggets held off the Clippers 110-104, on Friday night at the Pepsi Center.

Denver, which won their second straight game after losing three in a row, improved to 35-23 on the season but remains one-half game behind Golden State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"They made their run but we kept our composure and took care of what we had to to take care of," Anthony said. "It came to down the stretch. We buckled down and did what we had to do."

The Nuggets, who led by 10 points in the fourth quarter, appeared on the verge of blowing the game when the Clippers took the lead with an 8-0 run.

Corey Maggette's three-pointer with 2:56 remaining tied it at 102-102 and his free throws with 2:17 gave them a 104-102 lead. Those would be the final points for Los Angeles.

Iverson responded by hitting a pair of jumpers, the second with 1:24 to play, to give the Nuggets the lead for good at 106-104.

"I got a couple good looks at the end," Iverson said. "My whole thing was to just knock them down. My shot felt good from the beginning of the game all the way to the end."

Anthony then came through with the biggest play of the game, knifing between two defenders to haul in a rebound and convert the follow for a four-point edge with 43 seconds left.

"Carmelo's rebound and put-back was really big for us," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I'm sort of a rebound guy, but I'm a big rebound guy in the fourth quarter."

The Nuggets appeared to be on the verge of putting the game out of reach multiple times by building up double-digit leads but they had no answer for Al Thornton.

The rookie came off the bench to tie a career high with 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting and also grab 12 rebounds for the Clippers.

"I was just able to get into a rhythm," Thornton said. "I was pretty much taking advantage of what (the Nuggets) were giving me. They got two great players and down the stretch they got it done. I think we played them hard with what we got going on."

Los Angeles, which was without center Chris Kaman for the fourth straight game - all losses - due to a sore lower back, had an early 9-5 lead in the first quarter before the Nuggets went on a 16-4 spurt. Iverson scored six points during the run that gave the Nuggets a 21-13 lead with 4:32 remaining in the first quarter.

Maggette and Thornton combined for 38 points in the first half for the Clippers, who pulled to within 61-57 at intermission on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Cuttino Mobley.

Denver carried an 88-80 lead into the fourth quarter after Tim Thomas hit a 3-pointer from beyond half-court at the buzzer.

The desperation shot appeared to ignite the Clippers in the fourth quarter, as they erased a 92-82 deficit to take the lead.

Maggette finished with 28 points, including 4-of-5 from the arc.

"I think our team played extremely hard," Maggette said. "We don't want to stop. We still got a month and a half left in the season and we just need to play as hard as we can and stay together as a team."