With Denver trailing by two points entering the fourth quarter, Nick Van Exel's teammates and coaches urged him to take control of the game last night. He followed their advice.
Van Exel scored 19 of his 34 points in the final period as the Nuggets won their second straight road game by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers, 94-77.
Denver outscored Philadelphia 36-17 in the fourth quarter
"Everybody on the bench kept telling me to take over, and the coaches kept calling isolation for me," Van Exel said. "They gave me the green light."
Antonio McDyess had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who lost their first five road games before beating New York on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Denver is 7-81 on the road dating from 1997.
Van Exel scored 12 of Denver's first 14 points in the fourth period and assisted on the one basket he didn't score in that stretch.
With 6 minutes 46 seconds left in the game, 76ers guard Eric Snow got a technical foul for arguing a foul call against him on his block of McDyess's attempted dunk. Van Exel hit the free throw and McDyess sank both his foul shots to give Denver a 77-69 lead.
After the teams traded free throws, Van Exel hit a three-pointer to put the Nuggets ahead 81-70 and the 76ers never threatened after that.
NETS 109, KINGS 95: Stephon Marbury scored 26 points and had 14 assists, dominating his matchup with Jason Williams, and Keith Van Horn scored 27 as host New Jersey won for the third time this season.
Chris Webber had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings, and Vlade Divac added 21 points. Williams had only five points and seven assists with four turnovers for the Kings, who were playing their fifth straight road game.
HEAT 99, CLIPPERS 91: In Los Angeles, Alonzo Mourning had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Miami improved to 5-1 without injured guard Tim Hardaway. The Heat is 13-4 overall.
ROCKETS 102, GRIZZLIES 99: Charles Barkley scored 25 points and Walt Williams hit a critical three-pointer in the final minute as Houston won its third straight game and handed Vancouver its 30th straight road loss.