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Celts Lose Despite KG Return

Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and Allen Iverson 28 as the Nuggets spoiled the return of Kevin Garnett to the Celtics lineup, holding on for a 124-118 victory Tuesday night.

Denver also halted the Celtics' dominance over Western Conference teams, ending their string of 16 straight wins against the West.

Garnett, who had been out since Jan. 25 with a strained abdominal muscle, wasn't himself, finishing with four points on 2-for-7 shooting in nearly 21 minutes. He also had eight rebounds.

Paul Pierce scored 24 points, Rajon Rondo 22 and Ray Allen 20 for the Celtics (41-10), who had won five straight and were beginning a five-game Western trip.

"It was good to get back," said Garnett, who planned to play tonight at Golden State. "It felt good."

Garnett said he was feeling a little winded toward the end. He chalked it up to the Mile High City.

"There wasn't a lot of air out there," he said.

Allen, fresh off his 28-point performance at the All-Star Game, scored 14 points the first quarter but went 2-for-10 after that.

Garnett cut a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to 105-104 on a dunk with 3:35 remaining, but Denver reeled off six straight points, including a three-pointer by Marcus Camby.

Camby finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds and Kenyon Martin had 19 points for Denver.

The Celtics' Leon Powe had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Garnett came in averaging 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds and anchoring a defense that had allowed an NBA-low 89.4 points a game. But Denver's total is a season high against Boston. The previous high was 114 by Toronto and Cleveland.

"I know exactly what I'm going to do with [Garnett]," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before the game of his plan to limit KG's minutes. "I'm not going to vary from it."

Rivers was asked if he thought Garnett might complain.

"He's going to do that," Rivers said with a grin. "Once you're out there, you feel fine. You don't want to come out."

This program aired on February 20, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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