for this game

Billups sparks Nuggets to comeback win over 76ers

Feb 19, 2009 - 6:11 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups scored 22 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 101-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Billups scored 17 of his points in the third quarter when Denver seized control of the game.

"Halftime is always a time where you can come in and make adjustments and you see how the game was played," Billups said. "We were disappointed in out effort, you came in here and you say lets pick it up. Pride takes over when you are getting your butt kicked and you just compete as hard as you can."

Carmelo Anthony added 26 points and 14 rebounds for Denver, which won its third straight game.

Philadelphia led, 47-37, at the half, but the 76ers struggled offensively after the break while Billups and the Nuggets were just getting warmed up.

Denver scored almost as many points in the third (34) as it did in the entire first half. The Nuggets outscored the 76ers, 34-21, in the period, including a 24-4 run out of the locker room that turned the 10-point deficit into a 61-51 lead with 5:04 to play.

"We haven't played in a while and brought back some bad habits on the court in the first half," Denver coach George Karl said. "Philadelphia was into it. They were bouncing back from a bad game. I thought that it was a pretty courageous win here in the second half."

The 76ers had almost as much trouble scoring in the fourth, as they did not record their first field goal until there was 7:40 to play.

Andre Miller scored 17 points for the 76ers before leaving the game with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter with a right calf strain.

Denver was coming off a six-day layoff around the All-Star break and started slowly. Billups and Anthony helped the Nuggets break out of it in the third quarter, combining to shoot 8-for-15 from the field in the third as the team took a 71-68 lead into the fourth quarter.

"We were just rusty. Philadelphia got to play last night and we only had one day of practice after not playing since last Wednesday," Anthony said. "We just kept our composure. We just kept telling ourselves just to stay cool and the shots will fall for us and they did.

"If we want to be a good team we have to win games like this. We got to win in a hostile environment."

Philadelphia received a sub-par performance from Andre Iguodala and had a rough night shooting the ball, especially in the second half.

Iguodala, who is averaging 17.8 points, was plagued by foul trouble and scored only 10 points on 1-of-6 shooting before fouling out with just over five minutes to play.

"We have to continue to stay focused for four quarters. We have a bunch of young guys so we have to understand that every possession is important. We were trying to make shots and we tried to keep shooting until we got our confidence back."

The 76ers had won four straight and 10 of 13 at home, but they shot just 33 percent (28-of-86) from the field and were outscored 64-42 in the second half.

"We were shooting too many shots after one dribble. We weren't moving them," Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo said. "They're a pretty good defensive team; one of the best in the league. In the first half we did a better job of moving them. In the second half we didn't move them.

"They got the momentum and then Andre Iguodala was in foul trouble and then Andre Miller with his injury couldn't play.down the stretch. They are a good team and we couldn't match our first half performance to the second half."