PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Carmelo Anthony made up for a slow start with an excellent finish.
Anthony scored 29 points, including the go-ahead basket with 18.9 seconds left, and Ruben Patterson added 20 to lead the Denver Nuggets to their third straight win, 97-93 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
“My team needed me out there to get some things done,” Anthony said. “At halftime I just told them it’s time for me to wake up and just go out there and win the game.”
Mission accomplished for the Nuggets, who opened a seven-game, 10-day road trip.
Anthony scored 20 points in the second half and 11 in the fourth quarter, none bigger than when he dribbled down the baseline and came around from under the right side for a one-handed layup that put Denver ahead 95-93.
“I saw a double (team) coming and I just tried to beat it,” Anthony said. “I just had to go fast.”
Marcus Camby had 13 points, 14 rebounds and one of the Nuggets’ two blocks on Philadelphia’s last true possession that allowed them to hang on for their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 14-25. Denver also improved to six games over .500 for just the second time this season.
“It was a big defensive play,” said Camby, who leads the league in blocked shots per game. “We wanted to get him away from the 3-point line. I was able to use my size.”
Anthony sank two free throws and the Sixers’ final desperation shot was off the mark.
This was the third straight late-game disaster for Philadelphia. The Sixers lost a seven-point lead in the final 2:20 a night earlier at Boston, and a botched defensive strategy led to an easy layup in the final seconds Sunday against Indiana.
“I’ve never gone through anything like this before,” Webber said. “I’m not a loser. You can never get used to losing. It changes your whole lifestyle.”
This time, the Sixers tried to be the ones who came back in the fourth.
Iverson hit a 14-footer that got the Sixers within two late in the quarter, then drove by Andre Miller on the left side for a layup that made it 93-all with 2:03 left. The Nuggets where whistled for a shot-clock violation on the next possession, and Iverson missed a tough, off-balance shot.
Down by 15 midway through the third, the Nuggets needed quite a rally to get this road trip off to a winning start. The Nuggets opened the fourth on a 13-0 run, getting a game-tying 3-pointer from Earl Boykins, then another 3 from Greg Buckner that gave them an 82-79 lead.
“After this road trip, I think it will say a lot about us and where we stand,” Anthony said.
Iverson and Webber combined for 21 of Philadelphia’s 25 points in the third quarter, but Johnson hit a 3 for Denver in the final ticks of the third that got the deficit into single digits.
Sixers G Kevin Ollie (sprained ankle) did not play. Korver started in his place. … Coach Maurice Cheeks said he spoke with Webber about the decision to bench him for the entire fourth quarter against Boston. “I was doing what I thought at the time was going to help us win the game,” Cheeks said. … Miller was whistled for a technical in the third. … Denver’s seven-game trip ties the longest in franchise history.