SEATTLE -- Midway through the fourth quarter Allen Iverson unlaced his white and light blue sneakers and found a child in the stands to send home with a little gift.
Wednesday night was that easy, and record-setting, for Iverson and the Denver Nuggets.
Iverson scored 31 points, and the Nuggets were nearly flawless, scoring the most points in the NBA this season in a 138-96 rout of the Seattle SuperSonics.
"It was fun to watch," Denver coach George Karl said. "It was fun to see everyone play well."
Denver easily snapped its three-game losing streak, with a large amount of its points coming on uncontested dunks and layups. Toss in 9-for-17 shooting on 3-pointers with all those easy baskets at the rim, and the Nuggets set a franchise record by shooting 67.0 percent.
The previous franchise mark was set 30 years ago, when the Nuggets shot 66.7 percent against New Jersey early in the 1978 season. Denver also bettered the 66.2 percent shooting of the Lakers earlier this season, the previous best in the league.
The highest scoring game before Wednesday night came against Denver, when the Suns scored 137.
"I've been in the league 12 years and I've been playing a long time. I don't know if we've been this hot before, but it was pretty special," Iverson said. "It was fun."
Playing a tired Seattle team certainly helped the Nuggets. The Sonics were finishing off a back-to-back, having played at Golden State a night earlier and offered little resistance at the defensive end.
With Denver trying to chase down a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference, games against teams like lowly Seattle are now must-wins. The Nuggets are a half game behind Golden State for eighth in the West.
"It's crazy," Iverson said of the West. "We've got to concentrate on us and not on anybody else."
Perhaps the brief losing streak and falling out of a playoff spot is what the Nuggets needed to refocus. Karl noticed how sharp his team was during shootaround on Wednesday morning, and it certainly carried over.
Kenyon Martin made 11 of 14 shots and scored 23 points, including a trio of dunks in the third quarter alone. Carmelo Anthony added 16 points and played just 30 minutes. Iverson made 13 of 18 shots and was done early in the fourth quarter. Karl, who missed Monday's loss to Detroit with the flu, got an easy welcome back to the bench, watching the fourth quarter instead of coaching.
"They know they are capable of doing this more often and probably need to do it more often," Karl said.
Denver jumped out quickly, using a 15-4 run midway through the first quarter to take a 27-13 lead on Martin's powerful dunk over Seattle's Nick Collison.
That run was the first of three major first-half spurts for the Nuggets, who shot 62 percent in the half and led 64-45 at halftime.
Iverson capped an 8-0 run early in the second quarter, by crossing over between his legs four times on Collison, then darting into a lane for a soft floater. Linas Kleiza added 12 points in just 14 minutes in the first half and J.R. Smith capped the half with a falling down 3-pointer with less than a second left in the half. Both Smith and Kleiza finished with 15.
"If no one is on the floor, it's hard to shoot the percentage they shot," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We didn't defend at all."
The Nuggets lead only grew in the third quarter. Anthony went to the bench for good late in the quarter and Iverson capped his night with a fast-break, no-look drop pass to a trailing Martin for an easy layup and a 100-75 Denver lead after three quarters.
"We've been up numerous times ... and teams can come back to beat you. But tonight we stepped on them and didn't let them get back up," Denver's Marcus Camby said.
Karl picked up his 862nd win, two shy of Jack Ramsay for 10th on the NBA's all-time coaching wins list.
- Seattle G Earl Watson out again with an illness. Carlesimo was unsure if Watson would be available to play Friday night when Seattle hosts Miami.
- Denver was without F Eduardo Najera, who remained in Denver for personal reasons.
- Seattle G Luke Ridnour didn't play in the second half after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring.