Nuggets swamp Lakers, 105-79
DENVER — Carmelo Anthony got the better of Ron Artest, scoring 25 points in 29 minutes and leading the Denver Nuggets past the Los Angeles Lakers, 105-79, last night.
The Lakers' six-game winning streak was snapped. They scored just eight points in the third quarter as the Nuggets turned a two-point halftime lead into an 87-64 cushion that had ecstatic fans chanting "Beat L.A.!" something Denver couldn't do enough of in the Western Conference finals five months ago.
Held to seven points in less than 12 first-half minutes because of foul trouble, Anthony scored 10 quick points in the third quarter to give the Nuggets (7-3) a double-digit lead and turn this one into a laugher.
'Melo's run was highlighted by his steal from Lamar Odom and a breakaway basket. After that, the Lakers (7-2) looked every bit like the team that was coming off a late game in Los Angeles the night before.
J.R. Smith came off Denver's bench again and scored 20 points in his third game back from a seven-game suspension to start the season, and the Nuggets celebrated their return to the Pepsi Center after a six-game trip by leading the Lakers by as many as 29 points.
Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant each scored 19 points to lead the Lakers, who sat their starters in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. Artest scored 11.
"There's no doubt that we consider the team among the three or four (top) teams in the Western Conference," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
Denver backup point guard Anthony Carter, a University of Hawai'i alum, was unavailable because of a strained left hip.
Carter will receive treatment over the weekend and is listed as day-to-day.
He is averaging 3 points and 2.1 assists over 17.1 minutes.
MAVERICKS 89, TIMBERWOLVES 77
Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 of his 20 points in a tense third quarter and had 11 rebounds to lead visiting Dallas over Minnesota. Nowitzki had five points and five rebounds in the first half before jawing with Timberwolves rookie Jonny Flynn five minutes into the third. Nowitzki received a technical foul, then scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots in the next seven minutes.
TRAIL BLAZERS 86, HORNETS 78
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 13 rebounds, helping visiting Portland beat New Orleans, which lost Chris Paul to a sprained ankle while trying to adjust to new head coach Jeff Bower. The Hornets fired Byron Scott on Thursday. Paul sprained his left ankle at the end of the third quarter, moments after setting up Hilton Armstrong's dunk.
WARRIORS 121, KNICKS 107
Stephen Jackson scored 23 points, three other players had 22, and visiting Golden State sent New York to the worst 10-game start (1-9) in franchise history. Monta Ellis, Kelenna Azubuike and Corey Maggette all had 22 for the Warriors, who shot 58 percent from the field.
MAGIC 88, NETS 72
Dwight Howard had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Matt Barnes added 13 points and 13 rebounds, and host Orlando put away winless New Jersey. New Jersey's Rafer Alston had 17 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for the first triple-double of his career. New Jersey (0-9) is the NBA's only winless team.
JAZZ 112, 76ERS 90
Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Wesley Matthews added a career-high 16 points and visiting Utah beat Philadelphia. Paul Millsap and Mehmet Okur scored 15 points each, Ronnie Brewer contributed 14 and Eric Maynor had 13 points and 11 assists for the Jazz.
RAPTORS 104, CLIPPERS 89
Chris Bosh had 21 points and 14 rebounds for visiting Toronto, which overcame an early 22-point deficit and made four 3-point shots during a game-ending 16-0 run. Chris Kaman made his first five shots against the Raptors and finished with 25 points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes.
HAWKS 97, CELTICS 86
Joe Johnson scored 24 points, Jamal Crawford had 18 and visiting Atlanta beat Boston. Josh Smith scored 14, and Al Horford had 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Hawks (7-2) continued their strong start this season.
KINGS 109, ROCKETS 100
Jason Thompson had a career-high 27 points and added 11 rebounds for host Sacramento, which won its fourth straight. Beno Udrih had 22 points for the Kings and Tyreke Evans had 20 points. Andres Nocioni added 15 points.