The high-scoring All-Star duo provided the offense and the Nuggets were tough defensively, too, as they beat the San Antonio Spurs 95-89 in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series Sunday night.
Iverson scored 29 of his 31 after the first quarter and Anthony added 30 points for the sixth-seeded Nuggets, who entered the playoffs having won 10 of 11.
"We understand we're going to have to play defense to beat this team," Iverson said. "We know we can play offense. We're going to have to play defense."
Denver traded for Iverson in December, hoping the former MVP would combine with Anthony to form an unstoppable 1-2 punch and make the Nuggets a legitimate title contender. The two averaged 55 points a game, but not until late in the season did Denver really start to click.
The Spurs won the season series with Denver, 2-1, but that was hardly a good gauge of how this series would go. The Nuggets were without Anthony in the first matchup and Iverson had just returned from an injury for the second. Their third meeting was the last regular season game and Denver won a meaningless 100-77 rout.
With their stars now aligned, the Nuggets got the road victory they'll need to pull off the upset and win their first playoff series since 1994 - when they beat Seattle in a best-of-five to become the first No. 8 seed to knock out a No. 1.
Nene's dunk off a pass from the driving Iverson made it 80-77. Anthony's 3 and a basket by Iverson were followed by another Iverson-to-Nene combination to close an 11-0 Denver run and give the Nuggets a 10-point lead -- their biggest of the game -- with 3:27 left.
After Denver failed to get the ball over the half court line in time with under a minute to play, Parker hit a layup for the Spurs to bring them within 91-87 with 43.8 left.
Iverson missed his next shot, and Parker's under the basket pass to Duncan for a dunk made it 91-89 Nuggets with 17.9 to go.
But Anthony and Nene hit two free throws a piece after each was fouled by Duncan to extend the lead to 95-89 with 11.6 seconds left and seal the game for the Nuggets.
The Nuggets had the lead for most of the first half as Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili struggled from the field. They combined for 15 points and shot 7-of-33 from the field in the first half, one fewer than Anthony scored for Denver as he went 7-of-9. Iverson missed his first six shots, then hit four straight.
It was Finley who kept the Spurs within striking distance of Denver. He hit two of the Spurs' first-half 3 pointers.
Anthony's fast-break dunk off a long pass from Camby with 4.9 seconds on the clock gave Denver a 44-42 lead heading into the third quarter.
Iverson's 11 points in the third, including a 3 with 2:39 left in the quarter, gave the Nuggets a slight edge going into the fourth.
Iverson kicked the ball out to Steve Blake, who hit a wide open 3 with 9:20 on the clock to make it 72-68 Denver.
Horry matched him on the Spurs' next possession, then followed with a dunk to give San Antonio a 73-72 lead with 8:28 left.
But the Spurs couldn't grab the ball off the glass. Eduardo Najera scored after Denver got four offensive rebounds on a single possession.
- Denver had 18 turnovers, leading to 27 points for San Antonio. The Spurs' 15 turnovers cost them only 15 points.
- The Spurs went to the line just 10 times and made seven shots, and the Nuggets hit 21 of 25 foul shots (84 percent).
- The Nuggets outrebounded the Spurs 28-19 in the first half and 44-35 in the game.
- Parker's fiancee, Eva Longoria, missed her own TV show, Desperate Housewives, to attend the game.