for this game

Iverson, Pistons top Billups, Nuggets in first meeting since trade

Jan 10, 2009 - 6:28 AM By Derek Nagy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) -- Allen Iverson made the most of his homecoming to Denver.

Iverson scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half and Tayshaun Prince added 19 as the Detroit Pistons rallied for a thrilling 93-90 comeback victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

In his first visit to Denver since being traded for Chauncey Billups in November, Iverson nearly cost the Pistons with his ill-advised foul of J.R. Smith, who was attempting a 3-pointer when he drew contact with six seconds to play.

"I told my teammates that once we got to Utah, they would have to board up my windows and take all the sheets out of the room because I would kill myself if we lost this game because I gave J.R. those three shots," Iverson said.

Trailing 91-88, Smith missed his first of three free-throw attempts to squander a golden opportunity to tie the contest. After rookie Arron Afflalo made a pair from the line, Billups missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"It was tough," Billups said. "It was four seconds, you have to go full court and not only that, they all know you are trying to get that shot off. So you really are not going to get a great look in that amount of time."

Billups scored a season-high 30 points for the Nuggets, who had their five-game winning streak snapped and played their second straight contest with leading-scorer Carmelo Anthony. It was Denver's first home loss since December 19.

The 2004 NBA Finals MVP with Detroit, Billups scored 20 points in the first half as the Nuggets took a 48-38 advantage into the break. But Denver could not hang on, surrendering 32 points in the final quarter.

"That is what they do. They got the game in the second half to be their pace," Billups said. "They are good at that. We could never really get out and run and when we did get opportunities, we couldn't knock them down."

"I thought we stuck to the gameplan the entire game," Pistons coach Michael Curry said. "One thing we wanted to do was tempo the game, keep the game under 100. We felt if it was in the 80s or 90s that would favor us."

The Pistons, trailing the entire game, grabbed their first lead with 20 ticks left when Prince's turnaround jumper hit the front of the rim, bounced up and went in for an 87-86 edge.

"It's a situation where we had a lot of movement on the play, and I knew that if I got the ball off some movement that I'd get a good look," Prince said.

Smith lost the ball on the ensuing possession and Afflalo made six free throws down the stretch as Detroit won for the eighth time in its last nine games.

"We have a lot of guys on this team who have the confidence to step up and hit big free throws," Afflalo said. "I was on my way to the ball for the first two and, after I made those first two, I was fairly comfortable and after that. I went for the ball."

The Nuggets also were supposed to acquire center Antonio McDyess in the blockbuster trade on November 3, but he never reported to Denver and re-signed with the Pistons the next month.

McDyess, who was booed nearly every time he touched the ball, finished with six points and 12 rebounds.

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