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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Anthony discovers shooting touch in crunch time

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Carmelo Anthony had the whole repertoire working.

News photo
Air traffic control: Cleveland's LeBron James goes up for a reverse dunk against Philadelphia on Friday night. AP PHOTO

There were graceful rainbow jumpers from 6 meters, tough layups in crowds, backdoor cuts for two-handed jams and even some gritty offensive rebounds and putbacks.

The struggling New Orleans Hornets could keep pace for only so long.

Anthony scored 12 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 12 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets extended their winning streak to five with a 102-95 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

"We didn't want to look back at this game and say, 'Aw, this is a game we should have won,' " Anthony said. "So let's go get it while we've got a chance."

Chauncey Billups scored 21 points for Denver, which finished with a flourish to break open an 86-86 tie with 6:05 to go. Anthony was 5-of-7 shooting and made both of his free throws in the final quarter.

Anthony's fast-break layup gave the Nuggets an 88-86 lead with 5:32 left in the game, and Denver slowly pulled away, with Anthony hitting a 5.8-meter jumper and putback to make it 94-88.

David West scored 30 points for New Orleans, which has dropped eight of 10 games as its slim playoff hopes continued to evaporate.

Bucks 95, Jazz 87

In Milwaukee, the Bucks knocked off yet another NBA championship contender, beating Utah.

John Salmons had 24 points and Brandon Jennings added 23 for Milwaukee, which has won 11 of its past 12 — including victories over Cleveland and Orlando in the past week.

Cavaliers 100, 76ers 95

In Philadelphia, LeBron James had 23 points, 10 assists and six rebounds in his return as Cleveland downed the Sixers.

James was in the starting lineup after missing the previous two with an injured right ankle, and the league's leading scorer had his 26th double-double.

Mo Williams added 21 points for the Cavaliers (51-15), who have the league's best record.

Andre Iguodala led Philly with 30 points.

Heat 108, Bulls 95

In Miami, the hosts added to the woes of injury-stricken Chicago.

Jermaine O'Neal scored a season-high 25 points and Quentin Richardson added 23 for the Heat, who extended their season-best home winning streak to five games and passed Toronto for the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Celtics 122, Pacers 103

In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 20 points to lead the Celtics over Indiana.

Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 11 assists while reserves Nate Robinson and Glen Davis both scored 15 points for Boston, which played its third game in four nights.

Bobcats 106, Clippers 98

In Charlotte, Carolina held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat struggling Los Angeles.

Stephen Jackson scored 24 points and Boris Diaw added 16 for the Bobcats, who won their fifth straight as they chase the first playoff berth in franchise history.

Grizzlies 119, Knicks 112

In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Grizzlies held on to beat New York.

The Knicks' Bill Walker had 21 points, including 12 during a fourth-quarter rally.

Spurs 103, Timberwolves 85

In Minneapolis, Richard Jefferson had 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists in his first start in seven games to help San Antonio beat the hapless hosts.

Thunder 104, Nets 102

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 32 points, his franchise-record 36th 30-point game this season, as the Thunder edged New Jersey.

Durant made two clinching free throws after Devin Harris missed with 24 seconds left. The All-Star passed Spencer Haywood's mark from the 1972-73 season.

Pistons 101, Wizards 87

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Will Bynum had a career-best 20 assists as Detroit beat Washington in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference's worst teams.

Bynum became the first Piston to record 20 assists since Isiah Thomas in 1985, and just the third player to reach the mark in the NBA this season, joining Steve Nash (twice) and Darren Collison.

Blazers 110, Kings 94

In Sacramento, Brandon Roy scored 28 points and Portland beat the Kings for its third straight victory.

Lakers 102, Suns 96

In Phoenix, Kobe Bryant had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists — along with seven turnovers — but it was the all-around game of Los Angeles that led to an intense victory over the Suns.

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Visit The Japan Times' Web site for a recap of Saturday's bj-league games.

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