DENVER (AP)—Allen Iverson doesn’t expect his fractured right ring finger to feel better anytime soon.
Taking time off down the stretch, with the Denver Nuggets fighting for a playoff spot, simply isn’t an option.
So, he’s learned to accept the pain.
Not that the finger affected him Friday night. Iverson scored 28 points, going 9-of-12 from the floor, as the Nuggets blew out the Toronto Raptors 137-105 for their fifth straight win at home.
The Denver guard hit seven straight attempts before missing a 3-pointer early in the third quarter. He also made all 10 of his free throws.
“It felt OK before the game,” Iverson said. “Now, it feels that much worse. It’s throbbing like a heartbeat.”
Iverson, who hurt his finger against San Antonio a week ago, slips on a brace after every game per doctors orders.
“If I didn’t wear this brace to keep it straight after every game, there’s a chance it will get worse and I’ll have to get a pin,” he said.
Yet he refuses to wear anything on the finger in a game.
“I’m just real superstitious,” Iverson said.
Nuggets coach George Karl would like to get Iverson some rest, but there’s no time, not with the Nuggets currently on the outside glancing into the playoffs. They trail Golden State for the last spot.
“I don’t think we can lose a (player) because of an injury the rest of the way,” Karl said. “It’s the time of year where we have to play like it’s a playoff circumstance. Everybody is hurting a little bit—A.I. is probably at the top of the list.”
The Nuggets’ 137-point output is the second-most points the team has scored this season. They still have the NBA high mark for the season with a 138-point performance in a win at Seattle on Feb. 27.
But Iverson was more impressed with Denver’s defensive performance on Friday. The Nuggets held the Raptors to just 3-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. Toronto came in with the top percentage in the league at 41 percent.
“If we come in and do what we what we got to do defensively, nine times out of 10 we’re going to take care of business,” Iverson said. “We weren’t trying to beat them by 30, we just wanted to beat them convincingly.”
The Nuggets got their point across.
“Last two games, we’re not guarding anybody,” said Sam Mitchell, whose team has now dropped three straight to start a five-game road trip. “We’re not guarding anybody, and if you’re not guarding anybody, you’re going to come out of the game.”
Chucky Atkins came off the bench to finish with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Atkins has missed a majority of the season after surgery to repair a right groin/abdominal strain. The Nuggets are trying to work him into the rotation.
“He’s a pro,” Karl said. “He knows how to play, has a sense for the game.”
With a 30-point lead heading into final quarter, the starters were given the rest of the night off—except Iverson. He played moments into the quarter before being subbed out.
The break would’ve been nice, but he doesn’t think his finger will fully heal until this summer.
“It’s going to continue to bother me,” he said. “But I’m not going to make any excuses, whether I play good or bad. I won’t blame it on the finger.”
“We were nonexistent today and Denver did whatever they wanted offensively,” Parker said.
The Nuggets scored 79 points in the first half, the most Toronto has allowed for a half in franchise history. The previous high was 78 which the Los Angeles Clippers scored on the Raptors in the second half on March 13, 1998.
The Raptors also allowed a team-record 44 points in the first quarter.
“This game was fun,” said Camby, a former Raptors player. “You always want to beat your former teams, and the guys did a great job.”
The Nuggets are 13-2 against the Eastern Conference at the Pepsi Center this season. … Before the game, Toronto announced it had filed a statement of claim against the Spanish Basketball Federation for nonpayment of insurance related Jorge Garbajosa’s injury. Garbajosa underwent more surgery on his left leg and ankle on Dec. 11 in Baltimore.