Iverson, 'Melo help Nuggets stop streaking SpursMar 8, 2008 - 7:36 AM By Blake Redabaugh PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DENVER (Ticker) -- The San Antonio Spurs finally gave up some ground in the Western Conference playoff race.
Allen Iverson had 29 points and nine assists and fellow All-Star Carmelo Anthony scored 24 as the Denver Nuggets put an end to the Spurs 11-game winning streak with Friday's 109-96 victory.
With the loss, San Antonio (43-18) now finds itself one-half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers (44-18) for the top seed in the loaded Western Conference.
A two-time All-Star, Anthony led the comeback in this one as he poured in 14 points in the third quarter for Denver, which held a 34-19 edge in the period for an 80-73 lead heading into the decisive quarter.
"We tried to get 'Melo going early in the second half," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "This might be the best second half we have played all year."
The Nuggets continued to stretch their lead as Iverson's jumper to open the fourth sparked an 11-4 burst to extend the lead to 91-79 with 8:41 remaining in the fourth.
The Spurs would not got any closer than seven points the rest of the way as Denver (37-24) remains just one game behind Golden State (38-23) for the final spot in the West.
"We know how serious it is in the West," Iverson said. "If we don't get our act together, then there's going to be a chance that we're not going to be in the playoffs. When you look at our roster, there's no way we shouldn't be in the playoffs."
"I was really impressed with the Nuggets," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought they outplayed us physically. They played smarter than we did, and thus, the result."
Manu Ginobili was the story of the first half, scoring 17 of his 24 points as the Spurs took a 54-46 lead into the locker room.
Tim Duncan had 23 points and nine boards for San Antonio, which looks to even up the season series against Denver on Monday with a rematch at the AT&T Center.
"We didn't play great basketball," Duncan said. "Hats off to them, they played better than we did."
SAN ANTONIO 96
DENVER 109 FINAL
Mar 8 1:13 AM
SAN ANTONIO 73
DENVER 80 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 8 12:40 AM
SAN ANTONIO 54
DENVER 46 HALFTIME
Mar 7 11:48 PM
SAN ANTONIO 26
DENVER 26 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 7 11:11 PM
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