Hornets lose a must win

3-6-07 -- Allen Iverson scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony, a soon-to-be father, added 21 in the Denver Nuggets' 106-91 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night.

Nene finished with 15 points and grabbed 14 boards and Steve Blake came off the bench to add 13 points and six assists.

Anthony was on standby Tuesday night as his fiancee, La La Vazquez, was induced. The couple are expecting their first child any hour.

Tyson Chandler finished with 15 points and 18 rebounds for his 13th straight double-double. It's also his 20th straight game with double-digit rebounds.

Chris Paul had 13 points and 14 assists while Rasual Butler contributed 11, including three 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter. The Hornets have now lost four of their last five.

Denver led by as many as 23 points with 3:20 left in the third quarter. However, the Hornets cut the deficit to 96-88 with 4:58 remaining in the game on a jumper by Jannero Pargo.

The Nuggets scored seven straight points to secure the victory.

Marcus Camby grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked six shots despite playing with a sore tailbone. He now has 1,500 blocks for his career.

Denver guard J.R. Smith was a surprise contributor when he was inserted into the lineup with 1:34 remaining, his first game back since tearing the lateral meniscus in his left knee against San Antonio on Feb. 20. He had arthroscopic surgery the next day.

Before the game, Smith said he didn't know when he'd be back. He'd missed the last five games with the injury.

"The knee is still sore," Smith said before the game. "I'll play when I am comfortable to play."

The Nuggets trailed by one with 7:47 left in the second quarter, but closed the period on a 20-9 run to take a 53-43 lead at halftime.

Denver coach George Karl doesn't know if Anthony will make the trip to Golden State on Wednesday night.

Anthony didn't know yet, either.

However, he was beaming as he talked about the upcoming birth of his son.

"I'm just waiting for it to happen," Anthony said Monday. "The anticipation is always high at this time when you are going to be a father."