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Anthony, Iverson help Nuggets rally past Mavericks

Mar 28, 2008 - 5:22 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Things looked bleak for the Denver Nuggets until Carmelo Anthony stepped up in the second half.

Anthony scored 11 of his 32 points in the third quarter as the Nuggets rallied past the Dallas Mavericks, 118-105, on Thursday.

Fellow All-Star Allen Iverson also scored 31 points and Marcus Camby added 13 and seven assists for Denver (44-28), which has won four straight games and remained one-half game behind Golden State (44-27) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"Maybe after the next stretch of games we will see what our (playoff) destiny will be," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Right now we are still on the outside looking in."

The Nuggets, who are also one game behind Dallas (45-27) for seventh in the West, took the season series against the Mavericks (2-1), a fact that could help them if postseason positioning comes down to head-to-head play.

"It was a big win for us, a playoff atmosphere-type of a game," Anthony said. "It was a must win for us on our home court."

However, Denver played the first half like its defense was stuck in the mud. The Nuggets allowed the Mavericks to score a season-high 39 points in the first quarter to trail by 11 and were also down, 70-60, at the break before turning the game around after intermission.

"They were able to score and then we woke up," Iverson said. "We started to do everything that it took to in the basketball game. It all started on the defensive end."

"It was a tale of two halves," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Seventy points is awfully good, but I thought we would have to score at least 50 in the second half to win."

Denver ran off an 8-0 spurt to begin the third, cutting its deficit to 70-68 with just 2:52 expired. After a 3-pointer by Jason Kidd gave Dallas a 77-71 lead with 6:56 left in the third, the Nuggets went on an 18-3 burst capped by a dunk by Camby with 2:06 remaining in the period.

"I thought it was a combination of offense and defense in the third quarter that helped us turn it around," Karl said.

Anthony, who connected on 11-of-20 shots from the floor, scored nine in the spurt to help him accrue his 20th 30-point game of the season. Camby scored nine and Iverson added eight in the third for Denver, which outscored Dallas, 34-16, in the quarter and shot 49 percent (43-of-88) for the game.

J.R. Smith added 13 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who built up an 18-point lead in the fourth to cruise to victory.

"I don't understand how we score as many points as we do, but we sure score," Karl said.

Josh Howard scored 30 points and Kidd had 19 and 15 assists for the Mavericks, who were without reigning MVP Dirk Nowitzki for a second straight game due to a left knee and ankle injury he suffered in Sunday's loss to San Antonio.

Jerry Stackhouse and reserve Jason Terry scored 18 and 14 points, respectively, for Dallas, which shot 51 percent (41-of-81) but fell to 0-9 against teams with a .500 or better record with Kidd in the lineup.

Despite the defeat, Kidd is enjoying the competition in the West.

"Playing in the Western Conference is fun," Kidd said. "As a professional you want to go against the best each night."