Warriors drop game, fall into ninth

DENVER -- The big showdown with the Golden State Warriors had barely tipped off when Allen Iverson banged his broken right ring finger.

Try as he might to block out the pain, he just couldn't shoot straight.

"I got hit on it early in the game, and it just bothered me throughout," Iverson said. "I hope my teammates don't think I was out there point-shaving or something."

Iverson's 4-for-20 performance hardly mattered thanks to Kenyon Martin, who scored a season-high 30 points, leading the Denver Nuggets past the Warriors in the wild, wild Western Conference playoff race with a 119-112 win Saturday night.

Martin's biggest bucket was a buzzer beater from the left corner that made it 115-110 with 1:11 remaining, and Baron Davis, who led the Warriors with 28 points, misfired twice on 3-pointers in the final minute.

Stephen Jackson added 25 points for Golden State, Monta Ellis had 22 and Andris Biedrins 17 points and 17 rebounds.

The Warriors pulled to 109-106 on a breakaway slam dunk by Monta Ellis with 3:13 left, setting the stage for a frenetic finish.

Golden State overcame a double-digit deficit and took an 86-83 lead on Kelenna Azubuike's basket late in the third quarter. The Warriors suddenly looked in complete control at that point but started taking silly shots from all over and wouldn't score again for 6 minutes.

The Nuggets moved one-half game ahead of the Warriors for the final playoff spot and pulled within a one-half game of sliding Dallas for seventh place.

The Mavericks visit the Warriors tonight.

PISTONS 85, CAVALIERS 71, at Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Richard Hamilton returned to the lineup and scored 14 points, leading Detroit. Cleveland did, however, clinch a spot in the playoffs because the New Jersey Nets lost to the Phoenix Suns.

LeBron James had a lackluster night with 13 points on 4-of-17 shooting with five assists and five turnovers.

SUNS 110, NETS 104, at East Rutherford, N.J. -- Amare Stoudemire had 33 points and 15 rebounds and Phoenix moved into a first-place tie with the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division. Leandro Barbosa added 21 points, Shaquille O'Neal had 17 points and seven rebounds and Steve Nash chipped in with 10 points and 11 assists as the Suns won their ninth in 11 games.

BULLS 114, BUCKS 111, at Chicago -- Rookie Joakim Noah scored a season-high 18 points and had 15 rebounds to help Chicago hold on after nearly squandering a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.

CLIPPERS 110, GRIZZLIES 97, at Los Angeles -- Rookie Al Thornton scored 20 of his career-high 39 points in the fourth quarter, Corey Maggette added 26, and Los Angeles snapped a season-worst 10-game losing streak.

BOBCATS 93, TRAIL BLAZERS 85, at Portland, Ore. -- Emeka Okafor scored 21 points and Jason Richardson added 20 for Charlotte, which broke open the back-and-forth game in the final 2 minutes, and won despite being outrebounded 57-32 by the Blazers.