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Nuggets, still awaiting return of Melo, get third win with Iverson

DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets finally found a team as
depleted as they are.

Marcus Camby returned from a one-game absence after aggravating
his broken right ring finger and had 19 points, 15 rebounds and
seven blocked shots in Denver's 104-92 win over the Milwaukee Bucks
on Monday night.

The Bucks were without injured guard Michael Redd and lost his
backcourt mate Mo Williams during the game.

The Nuggets know how Milwaukee feels. Denver has been without
the NBA's top scoring tandem since Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith
brawled with the New York Knicks last month.

Even Allen Iverson has a sprained right big toe, which he hurt
Friday night against the Lakers and irritated against Milwaukee
when he jammed it into the floor again. The team said X-rays were
negative and listed him as probable for Wednesday night against San
Antonio.

"If it was cut off, I'd play," Iverson said.

Earl Boykins scored 26 points and Iverson had 23, including a
crucial 3-pointer in the closing minutes to stave off Milwaukee's
rally and help the Nuggets snap a five-game losing streak.

"I'm not so sure I feel happy as much as I feel relieved,"
Denver coach George Karl said.

Iverson found a positive side to the skid.

"That was tough to lose five in a row, but I kind of learned a
lot about this team, just going through some adversity with them
early instead of everything being peaches and cream," said
Iverson, who came over from Philadelphia last month.

"The morale around the team wasn't great but it wasn't
negative," Iverson said. "It wasn't to the point where everybody
was pointing fingers at each other and blaming each other."

Mired in a shooting slump, Iverson said he knew better than to
try to put the team on his shoulders. He shot 9-for-21 against the
Bucks.

"I've been struggling so bad. I'm trying desperately to just
find my game," he said. "I'm missing shots that I usually can
make with my eyes closed. And especially the layups.

"When you're missing jumpers, it usually doesn't bother you too
much because you know you can get in there and get a layup and try
to get you back into some type of groove. But when you're missing
layups, too, it's tough to try to break out of that."

Ruben Patterson, who played in Denver last season, started in
Redd's spot and scored 29 points, three shy of his career high, and
had 12 rebounds.

The Bucks learned before tip-off that they'd be without Redd and
his 27.7 points per game for up to six weeks after he strained his
left knee on a meaningless dunk Friday night against Cleveland.

"It's not an excuse to get a loss just because Michael is not
here," Andrew Bogut said. "You have to have someone step up for
him and figure out a way to win. You can't expect one guy to make
up what Michael gave us individually. We have to play more like a
team now."

The Bucks also were without forward Charlie Villanueva,
Milwaukee's major offseason addition, who missed his third straight
game with an injured right shoulder.

Williams sprained his left shoulder just before halftime when he
collided with Linas Kleiza near midcourt while going for the ball.
Williams made it to his feet after a minute and missed two foul
shots before leaving with 29 seconds left in the half. He didn't
return and is day to day.

Keeping up with the attrition, Nuggets forward Eduardo Najera
bruised his left shoulder in the first half and didn't return.

Boykins' 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave Denver a 60-49
lead at the break, and it maintained an 11-point lead following an
ugly third quarter. The Bucks chipped away and pulled to 87-82 on
Ersan Ilyasova's jump shot with just under 5 minutes left but they
couldn't get any closer.

"We never really felt like we were in the game," Bogut said.
"But we pushed them to the limit."

Game notes
Bucks general manager Larry Harris has an open roster spot
and likely will add another player Tuesday. ... Villanueva received
a cortisone injection Monday and will be re-evaluated in another
week.