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Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010

Nuggets top Cavs in overtime thriller

CLEVELAND (AP) George Karl called being on the court his sanctuary. Carmelo Anthony answered his coach's prayer.

Anthony scored 40 points, including the winning basket, and Denver overcame LeBron James' monstrous night to end the Cavaliers' 13-game winning streak with a 118-116 victory in overtime Thursday night in Karl's first game since revealing he has neck and throat cancer.

"I think he's happy," Anthony said of his coach. "This boosted his spirit up a lot. In the back of our mind, we know his situation. We're playing for him."

James had his triple-double by the end of regulation, and became the first NBA player with at least 43 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists, two steals and four blocks, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

James is also the first player to have at least 40 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in a game since Oscar Robertson had 42 points, 18 assists and 15 rebounds on Feb. 13, 1962.

"In that sense, it's huge because of what he was able to do," James said. "But in the sense of us losing the ball game, it means nothing."

Anthony matched him shot for shot, hitting the winner on a deep jumper over an outstretched James with 1.9 seconds left.

Cleveland had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but James slipped while receiving the inbounds pass and his 3-pointer rattled off the rim.

James, who played 47 minutes, missed his final four shots. Anthony, who played 48 minutes, made 7 of his last 8.

Celtics 87, Lakers 86

In Los Angeles, Ray Allen scored 12 of his 24 points in the third quarter and made 10 of his first 11 shots, leading Boston to a win over the Lakers.

It was the defending NBA champions' first loss in five games since Kobe Bryant went down with a sprained left ankle.

Kendrick Perkins had 13 points and 14 rebounds, Kevin Garnett had 13 points and eight boards and Rajon Rondo added 14 points, 11 assists and five steals for the Celtics.

Paul Gasol scored 22 points for Los Angeles.

Knicks get T-Mac

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Knicks acquired former scoring champion Tracy McGrady on Thursday in a three-team swap with the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings. The deal left them on the verge of being able to offer two maximum salary contracts to the 2010 free agent class that could be headlined by LeBron James.

Chicago, Washington and Sacramento all cleared enough salary to be able to afford a big-name free agent, and the Los Angeles Clippers got close.

The Knicks can afford James and perhaps someone else in the class that could include Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

By including Jared Jeffries in the deal for McGrady, whose $22.5 million contract expires after this season, the Knicks removed $6.9 million from next season's payroll and left them with about $32 million in salary cap space. Those top free agents would each earn a little more than $16.5 million in the first season of a max deal.

In the meantime, the Knicks hope McGrady can lead them into the playoff race. He's only played six games this season after returning from knee surgery, but is convinced he has plenty left.



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