DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets never know who is going to be
on the floor, just that somebody's going to have to step up for
someone else every night.
Anthony scored a season-high 35 points and the Nuggets found
another way to win short-handed, beating the Los Angeles Clippers
The NBA's leading rebounder and second-leading shot blocker,
Camby was held out of the game with a bruised right leg.
With Martin's minutes still being managed to keep him healthy
and productive, Anthony did the dirty work at both ends of the
floor, going to the foul line 14 times and sinking 12. He also had
six rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and a steal, all
while holding Cuttino Mobley to two second-half points after he
tallied 16 in the first half.
"This was a good, complete game for me," Anthony said. "I
tried to pick up some slack with Camby being out, and I went in
there and played some defense."
The Clippers had several matchup advantages with Camby on the
bench, but Anthony's uncompromising defense nullified all of them.
"Carmelo was sensational the whole game, but in the second half
I liked his defense as much as I liked his offense," Nuggets coach
George Karl said. "I thought we had to create some offense with
our defense in the second half and we did that."
"I thought it was our worst game of the year. Maybe the oxygen
didn't get into our brains," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said
after his team fell to 9-3. "It was our worst game of the season
in so many areas."
Sam Cassell, who was 6-of-19 from the floor, said: "We did
everything wrong. Everything."
Corey Maggette led Los Angeles with 22 points and added 10
boards for his first double-double. Elton Brand added 20 points and
Cuttino Mobley 18. But the Clippers, who led 52-51 at halftime,
never led in the second half after Denver's DerMarr Johnson sank a
3-pointer to make it 54-52.
Eduardo Najera also picked up some of the slack for the
makeshift lineup, scoring five points in an 8-0 run that put Denver
ahead 92-76. The Clippers responded with a 12-3 run highlighted by
consecutive jumpers from Cassell, who scored 15, to pull to 95-88
with five minutes remaining.
But Mobley couldn't get to the basket with Anthony in his face.
Anthony saved some offensive explosiveness for the final
minutes, too. His biggest points came after the Clippers had cut it
to 95-91, and he added an alley-oop fast-break dunk with 1:37 left
that made it 101-91.
Martin was in the starting lineup to play consecutive games for
the first time in two weeks. His sore left knee still not fully
recovered from an offseason operation, Martin scored 16 points in
"It felt good," said Martin, who ditched the protective sleeve
that had been covering his left knee.
"I don't like it," he said. "People try to tell me not to
look at it as a sign of weakness, but I do."
The highlight of the night was Martin's lay-in off an
over-the-shoulder pass from Anthony, in an eight-point run that
gave Denver a 64-54 lead. The Nuggets took an 86-76 lead into the
That's when Clippers assistant coach Kim Hughes, who used to
work for the Nuggets, inexplicably stood up and grabbed a live ball
that Anthony was trying to save from landing out of bounds.
Official Scott Foster gave Los Angeles possession as Anthony stared
down Hughes and the puzzled crowd jeered.
It was about the only thing the crowd could complain about all
"That is a good fast-break club," Dunleavy said, "and if you
are give over turnovers, take bad shots and give up offensive
rebounds, they are going to make you pay the price. They had 31
fast-break points. You can't contain anybody when you give up those
kind of numbers."
The Clippers played their first game without backup C
Zeljko Rebraca (irregular heartbeat). ... Denver rookie F Linas
Kleiza set career highs with seven points and four rebounds.
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