Associated PressDENVER ó Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points and sparked the decisive run in the third quarter of the Nuggets’ 118-105 win over the sliding Mavericks.
Allen Iverson added 31 points for the Nuggets, who won their fourth straight and moved one game behind the Mavericks in the Western Conference playoffs race.
The Nuggets’ grand night was capped when forward Nene entered the game with 1:17 left, marking his return to the court 21/2 months after surgery to remove a malignant testicular tumor, and just over a month after undergoing chemotherapy.
The Nuggets overcame a 30-point night by Josh Howard and 19 points and 15 assists from Jason Kidd.
The Mavericks are 10-9 since acquiring Kidd from New Jersey, but none of the wins was against teams with winning records. Six of their final 10 games are against teams above .500.
Dallas fell to 1-1 since losing MVP Dirk Nowitzki indefinitely with knee and ankle injuries.
Pistons 85, Heat 69
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. ó Rookie Arron Afflalo had career highs of 15 points and seven rebounds as the Detroit Pistons clinched the Central Division title with a 85-69 victory over the Miami Heat.
Detroit came in having lost three of four, and struggled against the hapless Heat. The Pistons were missing All-Star guard Richard Hamilton (hip) for the third straight game.
Miami, which only dressed nine players, has lost 13 of 15.
Reserve Jason Maxiell had 15 points for Detroit, while Chauncey Billups added 13 points and 11 assists.
Rookie Blake Ahearn, who came into the game with seven career points, led Miami with 15, but only two other players reached double figures.
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