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Philadelphia at Denver

Martin dunks home winner to lift Nuggets past 76ers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets played most of the game disinterested in anyone or anything that wasn't standing within a step of the 3-point line.

Odd, then, that they won it with a backboard-shaking dunk from a big guy, Kenyon Martin, who spent most of Friday night acting as though he was one of Denver's many shooting guards.

Martin took a bounce pass from Chauncey Billups and drove for the go-ahead dunk with nine seconds left to lift the Nuggets to a 105-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Denver trailed by as many as 17 in the middle of the third quarter, needed a season-high 15 3-pointers to stay within striking range, then won a game it probably should have lost thanks to a rare show of aggression at the end.

"Nah, I'm going to take it to the basket," Martin said, when asked if he felt like taking another jumper when he received the pass from Billups. "The lane was there, their big man just stood under the basket."

J.R. Smith made seven 3s for the Nuggets and finished with a team-high 27 points. Billups had 26 points and 10 assists.

On the possession after Martin's dunk gave Denver a 102-101 lead, Andre Iguodala of the 76ers got called for traveling.

Then, Andre Miller got hit with a technical foul with 2.9 seconds left. Billups made the free throw, then Chucky Atkins made two more to push the lead to four, seal Philly's third straight loss - and offer another sobering dose of how hard it is for mediocre teams to win on the road in the NBA.

Iguodala led Philly with 24 points, but didn't score after finishing a three-point play to give the Sixers an 88-76 lead with 8:20 left.

"The thought that comes to my mind is, bad teams lose games they're supposed to win, and good teams win games they're supposed to lose," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

Miller, used as trade fodder two seasons ago when the Nuggets dealt for Allen Iverson, had 19 points and eight assists for the Sixers. He claimed he was only trying to delay Atkins' free throws when he got slapped with the 'T.'

"I didn't do nothing or say nothing," Miller said.

Louis Williams finished with 16 points, and his nice alley-oop to Marreese Speights gave Philly a 101-100 lead with 17.7 seconds to set the stage for Martin.

Trailing by 12 early in the fourth, the Nuggets went on a 20-7 run to grab the lead with 2:29 left and it was almost exclusively from behind the 3-point line. Playing without Carmelo Anthony (elbow) for the third straight game, the Nuggets went 12 straight minutes in the third and fourth quarters without making anything from the field but 3s.

Smith's 3-pointer with 2:29 left gave Denver a 96-95 lead, its first since the first half.

But the Nuggets won by going hard to the bucket.

Martin took a bounce pass from Billups at the top of the key and, uncovered, drove hard to the hoop where he dunked over Sam Dalembert for the go-ahead points.

Karl said he wasn't surprised to see Martin so open at the top of the key, especially considering the way the Nuggets had been focusing on 3-pointers all night.

"I thought Kenyon made a great read and it's a basic play," Karl said. "Shooter's in a corner, big guys have the middle."

Philly made this close by doing lots of little things right - rebounding, taking the ball to the hoop, getting to the free throw line - while the Nuggets seemed content to fire away from long range. They also had a season high 24 turnovers.

With the Nuggets trailing by one with a minute left, Smith forced a tough 3 over Miller and missed, and it looked as though Philadelphia might steal a win on this, the first of a five-game Western road swing in which the combined record of the opponents is 79-65.

But Williams missed a running jumper in the lane on the next possession and Billups responded with a 16-footer for a 100-99 lead with 27 seconds left to set up the finish.

"We played solid the whole game. We did everything we were supposed to do. Force turnovers, we took advantage of their turnovers, got to the free-throw line," Miller said.

Wasn't enough, though.

Martin finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for Denver. His go-ahead score was his third basket in the paint; he also made jumpers of 18, 20 and 21 feet.

Notes: The Sixers shot 5-for-12 from 3-point range after missing all 19 attempts in their last two games. ... Philly played another game without Elton Brand, who is out with a dislocated shoulder. ... Anthony said he expects to be back Sunday, when the Nuggets start a four-game road trip in New York.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Kenyon Martin knows how to step up late, throwing down this dunk with nine seconds left.  (Getty Images)
Kenyon Martin knows how to step up late, throwing down this dunk with nine seconds left. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Philadelphia (12-17) 21312722101
Denver (19-11) «21281937105
PHI:A. Iguodala 24 Pts
PHI:S. Dalembert 13 Reb
PHI:A. Miller 8 Ast
DEN:J. Smith 27 Pts
DEN:Nene 12 Reb
DEN:C. Billups 10 Ast
Players of the Game
DenverPhiladelphia

C. Billups

A. Iguodala
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
262102444

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Philadelphia
A. Iguodala, SF469-154-744224
A. Miller, PG398-152-258519
T. Young, SF304-62-211010
S. Dalembert, C281-50-213052
W. Green, SG226-100-002313
L. Williams, SG275-106-1034216
M. Speights, PF185-122-321112
R. Evans, PF140-12-45032
R. Ivey, PG91-20-00223
D. Marshall, PF60-30-01000
T. Ratliff, CDid Not Play
E. Brand, PFDid Not Play
K. Rush, SGDid Not Play
J. Smith, PFDid Not Play
Totals 39-7918-30342223101
 49.4%60.0% 
Denver
C. Billups, PG405-1114-14210226
J. Smith, SG3610-200-011127
K. Martin, PF356-100-072512
Nene, PF333-77-8121513
D. Jones, SG193-61-11019
L. Kleiza, SF242-70-05136
A. Carter, PG201-40-04612
C. Atkins, PG142-52-22118
C. Andersen, PF131-30-03052
R. Balkman, PF70-30-04100
S. Hunter, PFDid Not Play
C. Anthony, SFDid Not Play
C. Samb, CDid Not Play
S. Weems, SGDid Not Play
Totals 33-7624-25412324105
 43.4%96.0% 
Other Games
Chi 77 Final
Mia 90
Char 95 Final
NJ 87
Min 120 Final
NY 107
Hou 79 Final
NO 88
Ind 105 Final
Mem 108
OKC 88 Final
Det 90
Dal 88 Final
Utah 97
Tor 107 Final
Sac 101
Bos 89 Final
GS 99