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Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009

Nuggets rout Pacers to remain unbeaten

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Carmelo Anthony got a little help from his teammates to lift Denver to its best start in 24 years.

News photo
My ball: Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant grabs the final rebound of the game in the Lakers' 101-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Anthony scored 25 points and Chauncey Billups added 24 as the Nuggets beat the Indiana Pacers 111-93 on Tuesday night to improve to 4-0. Nene had 16 points and 13 rebounds and reserve Arron Afflalo added 15 points for the Nuggets.

"Everybody stepped up tonight," said Anthony, who was averaging a league-best 38 points coming into the game. He was just 6-for-17 from the field, but made up for it by making 11 of 14 free throws.

The Nuggets say they have carried momentum from reaching the Western Conference finals last season.

"We should feel good, we shouldn't feel no other way," Anthony said. "It seems like we're picking up where we left off from last year."

Former Denver guard Dahntay Jones led the Pacers (0-3) with 20 points. He made perhaps the strongest statements after the loss, Indiana's third straight by double digits.

"It's very tough to take three losses in a row like this," he said. "We're sick and tired of losing."

Danny Granger scored points 18 on 6-of-16 shooting and Roy Hibbert added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana.

Pacers forward Troy Murphy bruised his lower back when he fell hard to the floor in the first quarter and did not return. He was second in the league in rebounding and third in 3-point percentage last season.

"It's kind of stiffened up," he said while sitting in front of his locker. "It's not the most comfortable thing right now, but hopefully it will feel better tomorrow and I'll be able to go."

Denver made 8 of 15 3-pointers on Tuesday while Indiana made just 3 of 22.

"We had a good defensive feel for the game all night long," Denver coach George Karl said. "Any time you win a game on the road and keep it in double digits, you're doing a lot of good things."

Celtics 105, 76ers 74

In Philadelphia, Paul Pierce scored 21 points, Rasheed Wallace had 20 and the Celtics remained unbeaten with a victory over the 76ers.

The Celtics improved to 5-0 even without the usual standout performances from Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Cavaliers 102, Wizards 90

In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 27 points, Shaquille O'Neal added a season-high 21 while wearing out Washington's big men, and the Cavaliers won their third straight.

The Cavs trailed by 18 in the second quarter before turning up their defense and relying on their superstar combo of James and O'Neal to win their sixth straight at home over the Wizards.

Pistons 85, Magic 80

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Ben Gordon scored 23 points and Rodney Stuckey added 20 as the short-handed Pistons beat Orlando, handing the Magic their first loss of the season.

Detroit's Tayshaun Prince saw his streak of 496 straight games played end as he was sidelined with a back injury.

Suns 104, Heat 96

In Miami, Steve Nash scored 30 points and added eight assists, and the Suns used a dominant fourth quarter to beat the Heat in a matchup of NBA unbeatens.

Amare Stoudemire finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix.

Mavericks 96, Jazz 85

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored a club-record 29 of his 40 points during a frantic fourth-quarter comeback.

Nowitzki broke the franchise record of 24 points in any quarter set by Mark Aguirre against Denver on March 24, 1984.

Lakers 101, Thunder 98 (OT)

In Oklahoma City, Kobe Bryant scored 31 points and hit the go-ahead jumper in overtime as the Lakers got tested in their first road game of the season, beating the Thunder.

Bulls 83, Bucks 81

In Chicago, Luol Deng scored 24 points while grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds, and the Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Bucks.

Hawks 97, Trail Blazers 91

In Portland, Jamal Crawford scored 27 points off the bench as Atlanta outlasted the Trail Blazers.

Al Horford's dunk with 56.6 seconds left made it 95-89 and all but sealed it for the Hawks. Horford finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

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