Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, Linas Kleiza had 22 and the Denver Nuggets won their third straight with a 129-116 victory over the banged-up Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
Chauncey Billups had 14 and Chris Andersen added 10 points and
11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who increased their Northwest Division
lead to two games over idle Portland with their eighth win in nine
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.
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.
The Nuggets led by nine at the break and 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.
The Nuggets rested their starters for the last 12 minutes.
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.
Despite the short bench, the Warriors raced out to a big lead early. A balanced attack blitzed the Nuggets early 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.
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.
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