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NBA Game Summary - Boston at Denver

(Tuesday, February 19th)

Final Score: Denver 124, Boston 118

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony poured in 29 points, including 12-of-13 free-throw shooting, and pulled down seven rebounds as the Denver Nuggets became the first Western Conference squad all season to defeat the NBA-best Boston Celtics, spoiling Kevin Garnett's return to action with a 124-118 victory at the Pepsi Center.

Allen Iverson added 28 points while hauling in seven boards and handing out nine assists for the Nuggets, who have triumphed in four of their last five contests. Iverson was not the only Nugget flirting with a triple-double, as Marcus Camby tallied 11 points to go with 13 rebounds and nine blocks. Kenyon Martin recorded 19 points, and Anthony Carter contributed 14 points while distributing eight assists, helping Denver improve to 22-6 as the host.

All five Nuggets starters scored in double-figures, and Linas Kleiza chipped in with 11 points off the bench.

Paul Pierce paced the Celtics, donating 24 points and dishing out seven assists, but it was not enough to keep Boston's five-game win streak alive. Rajon Rondo finished with 22 points, and Ray Allen scored 20, as Boston fell to 16-1 against Western Conference foes. James Posey and Leon Powe added 13 points apiece in the loss, which was the Celtics' fourth straight visiting Denver.

Garnett, who returned to the lineup after missing nine consecutive outings with an abdominal strain, notched four points and eight rebounds in just under 21 minutes.

The leading vote-getter for last weekend's All-Star Game, in which he did not participate, Garnett entered averaging 19.2 points and a team-best 9.9 rebounds per game. The Celtics posted a 7-2 mark in his absence.

"I felt good," Garnett said after the loss to Denver. "(I had) no pain, no discomfort."

Trailing by double-digits late in the fourth quarter, Boston climbed back to within a point after ripping off an 11-2 run. Garnett's slam capped the burst, and the Celtics were down 105-104 with 3:35 to play.

The Nuggets responded immediately, though, with an 8-1 spurt. Martin scored five in the streak, and his hook shot with 1:53 remaining extended the Denver lead to 113-105.

Despite a flurry of three-pointers with the clock winding down, the Celtics were unable to get any closer than three points of the Nuggets, as Denver converted 9-of-13 attempts from the foul line in the final minute of action to hold on to the victory.

The Nuggets hit better than 51 percent of their field goals, including 8-of-17 from three-point range. They also made 49 trips to the charity stripe, compared to just 28 for the Celtics.

"Tough one," commented Boston head coach Doc Rivers. "I thought we played hard. They beat us off the dribble all night. (Garnett was) not very good. I thought he was rusty."

Denver held a 36-31 edge after 12 minutes of play, but when Rondo drilled a running jumper as time expired in the second quarter, Boston knotted the affair, 62-62, with the squads heading to the locker rooms.

Facing a two-point deficit shortly after the intermission, the Nuggets used an 11-0 surge to take control. Anthony drained a three-pointer that sealed the streak with 7:29 to go and Denver on top, 75-66.

The Celtics answered right back with a 7-0 spurt. Rondo had five points, and Pierce's driving layup brought Boston back to within a bucket, 75-73, with 6:21 left in the third period.

The Nuggets carried an 88-84 advantage into the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, Denver broke open a close game with an 8-0 barrage. Kleiza scored the last six points of the burst with back-to-back baskets from beyond the arc, and the Nuggets extended the cushion to 101-91 at the 7:31 mark.

Game Notes

This was the second and final meeting of the campaign between the squads. On Nov. 7, the Celtics downed the Nuggets, 119-93, at TD Banknorth Garden...Boston dropped to 41-10 for the season, still tops in the NBA...The Nuggets improved to a 33-20 mark...Denver played in front of 19,894 fans, the largest crowd to ever attend a Nuggets regular season game...The Celtics, who stand at 18-6 as the visitor, opened a five-game Western Conference road trip at Denver. They travel to Golden State, Phoenix, Portland, and the Clippers during the swing...Denver climbed to 12-1 hosting Eastern Conference teams.

02/20 01:34:58 ET

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