Carmelo Anthony crashed the boards as hard as he worked for open looks at the basket, grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring 30 points Wednesday night in the Denver Nuggets' 126-113 win over the tired Phoenix Suns.
Allen Iverson's 31 points led the Nuggets, who pulled within one game of Golden State for the eighth and final spot in the rousing Western Conference playoff picture.
It was reserve J.R. Smith's long-range shooting that helped the Nuggets build a second-quarter cushion and later helped them put the Suns away. He sank six 3-pointers, two in a 16-0 run that Denver used to take control, and finished with 20 points.
Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 22 points, and Shaquille O'Neal grabbed 18 rebounds and scored 12 points, but the Suns fell to 3-5 since his Suns debut following his blockbuster trade from Miami last month.
Trailing 40-33 in the second quarter following a basket by Shaq, the Nuggets scored 16 straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Smith, to take a 49-40 lead they would never relinquish.