7:00 PM ET, December 6, 2007
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
DALLAS (AP) -- Allen Iverson went hard to the basket. He didn't get there, but he did draw a foul.
The next time down the court, A.I. made another veteran move, drawing another foul on the same defender.
The game was only 1 1/2 minutes old, yet Iverson already was in full control.
A day after scoring 51 points in a defeat, Iverson may have been even better, scoring 35 points and dishing out 12 assists while leading the Denver Nuggets past the Dallas Mavericks 122-109 Thursday night.
"A.I. had it all going from everywhere," said Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, who tied his season high with 32 points and had 12 rebounds. "He was driving and making shots in-between."
Iverson made 12-of-19 field goals and was 11-of-13 from the line. It was his sixth time scoring 30 points and his fourth time with at least 10 assists. However, this was his first 30-10 game of the season.
"I thought A.I. had a real good feel for the game," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "His game is to get to the free-throw line and to run. Dallas tried to get the ball out of his hands. He definitely did a good job getting the guys involved."
Linas Kleiza benefited from Iverson's passing, scoring a season-best 23. Carmelo Anthony had 23 points and Kenyon Martin, a Dallas native, had 18 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Camby added 14 rebounds and eight points. Denver made 50.5 percent of its shots and that was with Anthony going 9-of-30.
For all his statistical prowess, Iverson's most impressive number might've been his game-best playing time of 42:54. Now in his 12th season, the 32-year-old guard played a full 48 minutes the previous night in a loss at home to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"He's the Energizer bunny," said fellow starting guard Anthony Carter. "He just doesn't get tired. He was charged up for this game."
Maybe it was the microphones.
Anyone watching on TNT got a little more insight than any previous NBA broadcast as this was the first with players and coaches wearing microphones. There were sideline interviews with the coaches between quarters, too.
Among the insights: Karl saying, "When we pass the ball, we usually play well," and Mavericks coach Avery Johnson telling his team during an early timeout, "Good hustle, men, keep it up."
The Mavericks allowed their most points this season in a quarter (39, the first), a half (64) and a game. The problems were at both ends of the court as the Mavericks also committed a season-high 19 turnovers.
"It was a layup drill out there," Nowitzki said. "At no point in the game I thought we could really stop them."
That's part of a growing trend for Dallas, which is routinely allowing 30-point quarters; it's happened in 10 of the last 11 games.
The losses are becoming common, too. This was the Mavs' second straight, third in four games and sixth in the last nine.
"It's not one thing that's the problem. It's a number of things," said Devin Harris, the defender suckered by Iverson on those early plays. "Our defense is affecting our offense. Hopefully these are growing pains we won't have later on. But this is fixable. It's all attitude. I'll bet money that Avery will make it better."
Denver took control with a 24-7 run during a span bridging the first two quarters. The Nuggets led by as many as 16, but the Mavericks tied it at 82 late in the third.
Dallas was still within 94-92 in the final minute of the period, but things didn't stay close for long. A pair of baskets by Iverson in the final seconds of the quarter started a 13-2 spurt that also included a 3-pointer from defensive specialist Eduardo Najera.
Najera, the microphone-wearing Nuggets player, smacked Nowitzki on his way to the basket, starting a fast break for Denver's final points in the rally.
Jerry Stackhouse scored a season-high 23 points and Josh Howard had 20. Howard had 17 at halftime, then got his fourth foul seconds into third quarter and didn't score again until there was 8:18 left in the game.
Nowitzki picked up some of the slack for Howard, scoring 13 in the third quarter. But he had only two points in the final 16 minutes.
Harris scored 12 points. Devean George was scoreless in seven minutes, but at least he played. He'd been out all season with a stress reaction in his left foot.
George got a nice ovation when he came in. Nine seconds later, refs welcomed him back with his first foul. ... Anthony was 1-for-4 on technical foul shots. He was 4-of-5 on his other free throws. ... Denver G Von Wafer was involved in a car accident Thursday. He got to the arena late, but said he was OK and declined to discuss what happened. He dressed but didn't play.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||46-91 (.505)||36-87 (.414)|
|3PM-3PA||5-10 (.500)||7-22 (.318)|
|FTM-FTA||25-36 (.694)||30-34 (.882)|
|Fast Break Points||24||14|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||26 (1/0)||26 (4/0)|