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Iverson, Nuggets take lead for final playoffs spot

Apr 11, 2008 - 4:17 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) - The Denver Nuggets may have just punched their ticket to the playoffs with Thursday's 114-105 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Allen Iverson scored 33 points and Carmelo Anthony added 25 for the Nuggets (48-31), who grabbed a one-game lead for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"The thing about this whole playoff run is that when you look at what we have done this year, it is honestly a successful season," Iverson said. "You have 48 wins and still trying to get in the playoffs. It felt good to win with everybody saying that everything was at stake."

Monta Ellis poured in 29 points and Baron Davis collected a triple-double with 20, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for Golden State (47-32), which finishes the season against the Clippers, Phoenix and Seattle.

"I think we just got beat," Davis said. "Of course we turned the ball over a lot, which is uncharacteristic of us but at the same time, it was just a combination of turnovers, missed open shots, some missed layups and them jumping out and getting easy buckets from missed defensive assignments. You can't have all that and expect to win."

J.R. Smith nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to create a 10-point lead for the Nuggets at the start of the fourth quarter. Denver's bench was the difference in this one as Smith scored 24 points compared to just seven from the entire Golden State team.

"We finally just played through," Smith said. "It was a great team effort. We played team basketball, we ran, we were aggressive, we played great defense going down the stretch and we were able to win. The Warriors were getting a lot of rebounds early in the game. We went back to the zone and started getting rebounds and that was able to fuel our outlets and score easy buckets. Everybody was happy."

Stephen Jackson drilled a desperation 3-pointer with 8:57 left to cut Golden State's deficit to nine points. But Smith scored on a two-handed jam and Anthony added a 3-pointer to make it 104-90 with 7:52 left.

"We've got a job to do, we've still got games," said Jackson, who had 18 points. "We can't sit and dwell on this game because we lost. Definitely, everybody's upset, but at the same time we can't do anything about it. It is what it is, we've got to get ready to play the next game."

Despite the win, Denver still has to three games remaining highlighted by matchups against Utah (52-26) and Houston (53-25) before finishing up at home against lowly Memphis.

"We've got one more, another battle in Utah on Saturday that we've got to go in there and try to get that one," Anthony said. "We aren't in the driver's seat yet, until that last game and that last whistle blowing and we see what's happening then, then we'll be in the driver's seat."

The Warriors jumped out to an early lead going on a 27-12 run en route to a 37-22 bulge after the first. However, the Nuggets answered with an impressive 21-1 burst in the second to take a 61-60 lead into the locker room.

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