Anthony (8-of-23) scores 23 in Nuggets loss

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A bruised shin didn't stop LeBron James from

leading the Cavaliers out of a slump or cheerfully singing in the

locker room afterward.

James scored 26 points and got enough help from his teammates to

lead Cleveland past the Denver Nuggets 94-85 on Thursday night.

James bruised his left shin and hobbled to the locker room with

29 seconds left in the first half. He came back with the shin

wrapped for support.

He also got support from Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall.

Jones scored 17 points and Marshall 11. Both hit big 3-pointers

as the Cavaliers ended a three-game losing streak.

"Huge win," Marshall said. "You always want to come out of a

slump. It's better to come out of a slump against a good team

that's playing well."

The Nuggets had won four of five, and Carmelo Anthony was coming

off a career-high 42 points in a victory over Charlotte on Tuesday

night. Anthony scored 23 to lead Denver but shot just 8-of-23.

Greg Buckner added 15 points and Earl Watson 14 for the Nuggets,

who shot 38 percent to Cleveland's 53 percent.

"We got stops and made shots when it counted," James said.

"When you hold a team to 38 percent from the field you give

yourself a pretty good chance of winning."

James ended a stretch of six games with 30 or more points. That

could be good news for the Cavaliers, who went 1-5 with him

carrying the load.

James, who declared that the team was in a funk following

Tuesday night's loss to Atlanta, added nine assists, including a

no-look pass to Alan Henderson that thrilled the crowd.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 16 points and gave Cleveland a

presence inside with three blocks after missing one game with a

sprained right knee.

Marshall hit a 3-pointer to cap a 12-4 run for an 83-76 lead

with 3:46 left as the Cavaliers took control. He made another with

1:51 left to finish off Denver.

"I blame it on the NBA game being too long," Nuggets coach

George Karl said. "We played well for 42, 43 minutes. We ran out

of gas a little."

Marshall, who also had a season-high 12 rebounds, was 2-of-4

from beyond the 3-point arc. Jones went 5-of-11.

"It was a testament to our ability to share the basketball,"

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "Those guys are shooters. That's

what they do."

Despite his injury, James still showed quickness, stealing an

inbounds pass for an easy slam to end the third quarter with

Cleveland ahead 66-65.

"It really didn't bother me," said James, adding that he

originally got hurt running into Atlanta's Royal Ivey on Tuesday

night. "Andre (Miller) kneed me in the shin. I just have to take

care of it and see how it reacts Saturday (against Miami)."

James played the entire second half and said if he had sat out

it likely would have stiffened up.

The Nuggets were without Marcus Camby, inactive with a sprained

right pinkie finger. Camby is second in scoring for Denver,

averaging 16.8 points per game.

Francisco Elson, who started in Camby's place, kept missing open

jumpers, shooting 1-for-5 for two points.

Earl Boykins also missed his second game with a left hamstring


"We've been fighting with injuries all year," Anthony said.

"So we've got to do what we did tonight, go with who's going to go

out there and play."

Neither team could establish control early as the Nuggets opened

with a 17-7 lead, then missed their next 11 shots as the Cavaliers

put together a 22-2 run.

James took a breather and the Nuggets started a 14-0 run to go

up 39-33 late in the first half. The Cavaliers were ahead 44-40 at

halftime, led by James' 17 points.Game notes
Camby is day-to-day and will be a game-time decision Friday

night at New Jersey. ... James leads all Eastern Conference players

with 665,849 votes in the first All-Star returns. ... Former

Cavaliers guard Miller handed out tickets to more than 20 family

members and friends. ... Denver leads Cleveland 3-2 in the LeBron

vs. Carmelo era. James has led the Cavaliers in scoring in the last

four matchups.