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News » 'Melo drops 31; Nuggets beat banged-up Warriors

'Melo drops 31; Nuggets beat banged-up Warriors

'Melo drops 31; Nuggets beat banged-up Warriors
DENVER (AP) - After two gutty road wins, the Denver Nuggets weren't going to let the banged-up Warriors hurt their chances for a division title.

Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, Linas Kleiza had 22 and the Nuggets won their third straight with a 129-116 victory over Golden State on Saturday night.

Chauncey Billups had 14 and Chris Andersen added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who maintained a 1 1/2-game lead over Portland in the Northwest Division and have won eight of their last nine games.

"It was important for us to come out and get this win," Billups said. "We didn't want to take two steps forward and three steps back with a loss like this at home. Especially considering the week we had."

Denver plays five of its last eight games at home, four against teams with losing records. Utah, which stayed two games behind Denver with an overtime victory over Phoenix on Saturday, visits Thursday.

"That game's on my calendar, but we have to take care of New York (on Tuesday)," Anthony said.

Jamal Crawford had 30 points and Kelenna Azubuike scored 21 for the Warriors, who have lost four straight and five of their last six.

Golden State, which has not had its full lineup all season, dressed only eight players. Before the game, coach Don Nelson said leading scorer Stephen Jackson will undergo surgery next week to remove a bone fragment in his left big toe and would most likely miss the rest of the season.

"We only had eight guys available so we had matchup nightmares," Nelson said. "They had so many mismatches, they didn't know which one to go to."

Early on, the Warriors were the ones exploiting the Nuggets. Despite the short bench, they raced out to a big lead early. A balanced attack blitzed the Nuggets as Golden State took a 23-9 lead with 4:12 left in the first. Denver quickly recovered, finishing the quarter on a 19-4 run to take a 28-27 lead into the second.

"They were fresh and they made a lot of 3s," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We have not been a good starting team in the last three four weeks but the guys responded."

Kleiza, who had scored 12 points in the previous four games combined, had 13 in the second quarter as the Nuggets extended their lead to 66-57 at halftime.

The Nuggets scored the first 13 points of the third quarter to take a 79-57 lead. Anthony, coming off a 43-point performance against Dallas on Friday, hit three 3-pointers and J.R. Smith hit another as Denver went on a 13-2 run to take a 104-74 lead into the fourth quarter.

"When Carmelo gets it going like that it's tough," Crawford said. "Then you've got Chauncey running the show. He's up there with the elite point guards, and then it's almost pick you poison."

Denver's starters rested the final 12 minutes.

"I'm glad we woke up in that third quarter and finally buckled down and said we don't want to make this game no close game with them," Anthony said. "They have a team - I don't want to say it - but they're not really playing for anything. And they're a scary team."

The Warriors cut it to 10 with 34 seconds left, but they never seriously threatened after Denver's big third quarter.

Nene returned to the Denver lineup after serving a two-game suspension for a flagrant-2 foul committed in Monday's loss at Phoenix. The center, who is averaging 14.1 points and a team-leading 7.8 rebounds, scored eight points against the depleted Warriors.

Notes: After losing their first game to Golden State this season, the Nuggets won the series 2-1. ... Thirteen players scored in double figures, including seven Nuggets. ... Despite a distinct size disadvantage, the Warriors outrebounded Denver 50-44.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 29, 2009


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