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'Melo's 43, game-winner lift Nuggets in 3 OT thriller

DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony didn't mind the extra work, not
even when he got kneed in the face in the middle of the third

"I wasn't going to miss no time, not in a game like that,"
said Anthony, who scored 43 points, including the game-winner with
2.9 seconds left that sent the Denver Nuggets past the Phoenix Suns

Anthony played the final 2½ minutes with watery eyes and tissue
paper in his left nostril to keep blood from gushing out after he
was inadvertently kicked in the face by teammate Eduardo Najera.

Eddie House was short on a long jumper after a timeout. Shawn
Marion tried unsuccessfully to toss it back up and send the game to
a fourth overtime as the buzzer sounded.

"We played with a lot of heart for seven periods," said Earl
Boykins, who added a career-best 33 points for the Nuggets in their
first triple-overtime game in a decade.

It was the Suns' second triple-overtime game this month alone:
They lost at New York on Jan. 2.

"I don't know what it is about overtimes," lamented Suns coach
Mike D'Antoni. "We don't get overtime pay, so I don't know why we
do it."

Predictably, Nuggets coach George Karl loved it.

"I feel great. It was a great basketball game, we made a great
effort," Karl said. "We won a tough one and beat a good
basketball team in a great game."

Raja Bell led Phoenix with 30 points, followed by Marion with
28, Steve Nash with 26, James Jones with 22 and Boris Diaw with 12.

"Tiring," Nash said. "This was tiring."

With 35 seconds left, Nash fouled out for the first time since
1999-00. Ten seconds later, Bell fouled Andre Miller, who sank both
free throws for a 137-135 lead.

House hit a jumper with 12 seconds left, tying it at 137 and
setting up Anthony's game-winner, his second straight.

"Shawn Marion overplayed it, he reached, and once I saw that, I
knew I had a clear shot at the basket once I got my feet set,"
Anthony said. "I wanted to win, even before I got my face smacked.
Then I got energy from that, even though Eddie did it."

Anthony, who also was the hero in the Nuggets' 92-90 win at
Houston on Saturday night, scored with 2:30 left in the third
overtime to give the Nuggets a 131-129 lead, but he was
inadvertently kicked in the face by Najera. He stayed down for a
minute and when he got up, there was a small pool of blood on the

"I didn't get hit in my nose, more around my eye, and across
the bridge of my nose," Anthony said. "I didn't feel it in my
nose, I felt it in my forehead."

But he never thought about calling it a night.

"You are just going on adrenaline," he said.

Miller made two poor decisions in the closing seconds of the
second overtime. First, he inexplicably inbounded to Earl Watson
beyond the arc with 1 second on the shot clock and Najera open
underneath for a tip-in with the Nuggets trailing 125-123.

After Najera's steal of Nash led to a fast-break basket by
Boykins, Miller rebounded Bell's errant 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds
left. Instead of calling the Nuggets' final timeout, he lofted a
desperation shot from three-quarters quart as Karl threw his arms
up in disbelief.

Boykins scored nine points in the first overtime, but with the
score tied at 117, he missed a 12-footer at the buzzer that would
have won it.

Marion missed a 10-footer that would have won the game for the
Suns in regulation.

"I couldn't have asked for a better shot," Marion said. "A
10-footer. I should have knocked that one in."

Denver didn't really feel the absence of Kenyon Martin (back),
their top rebounder with Marcus Camby (finger) out until the
closing minutes of regulation, when the Suns got three straight
offensive rebounds while clinging to a 104-103 lead. Finally, Kurt
Thomas fouled Watson while grabbing a fourth consecutive offensive
board. Watson sank one of two shots to tie it at 104.

"We had the opportunity to win that game two or three times if
we got more rebounds," Karl said. "I don't know if we're
fatigued, small, the ball's bouncing the wrong way, we don't jump
or we just want Marcus to be back and that's the way we're telling
the basketball gods we need Marcus back."

Game notes
Denver G Greg Buckner sprained his right wrist. X-rays were
negative. ... The Nuggets hadn't topped 130 since February 2000.
... The Suns' starters scored 111 points. ... Bell logged nearly 58
minutes. ... In a game like this, Karl said, "the biggest thing is
to keep your bladder under control."