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Garnett, Wolves rally, then hold off Anthony, Nuggets

DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony was missing at the end of the game

again.

Kevin Garnett scored 27 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves

rallied for a 112-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday

night in a game that ended with Anthony misfiring four times in the

final 14 seconds.

Elias Says

Carmelo Anthony
Anthony
In Denver's 112-109 loss to Minnesota, Carmelo Anthony took four shots within the last 15 seconds of the game and missed them all. Three of them were 3-point attempts that would have tied the game. Over the last two seasons, only one other NBA player had four field-goal attempts within the final 15 seconds of the fourth quarter. On March 7, 2006, Minnesota's Marcus Banks was 3-for-4 from the field with less than 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Timberwolves lost to Houston 93-87.

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"When you're out there scrambling, trying to make a prayer

shot, it's kind of hard," Anthony said one night after being

ejected in the third quarter of a one-point loss to the Los Angeles

Clippers.

"I wanted it. I wanted it. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I

don't," Anthony said. "I think I've got to get back into my

game-winning shape."

Anthony scored 28 points just 24 hours after being caught up in

the league's crackdown on bickering at officials. He stuck around

for every second of this game, but couldn't match his last-second

magic that carried the Nuggets to five buzzer-beating wins last

year.

Three of his misses in the closing seconds were from beyond the

arc, the first of which didn't sit well with his coach, George

Karl, who had instructed his team to go for the quick two-pointer

and the steal.

"It was definitely a quick-two situation," Karl said. "I

think with 18 seconds, we've got the ball, it's just take it up the

court and attack. If you fall into a good 3, you shoot it, but the

3s weren't that good."

Anthony missed from 24 feet, got his own rebound and missed the

tip-in. The Nuggets got the board and Anthony missed from 26 feet

with 3 seconds left, then had one last chance but was way off from

32 feet as the game ended.

"We'd probably would have fouled 'Melo in that situation, but

in such a scramble I was afraid they would call it and he'd hit the

shot," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said. "Carmelo is so good

he'd hit the 3 and get the free throw, too."

Garnett was the hero instead, going 9-of-16 from the field and

9-of-11 from the line as he took advantage of Kenyon Martin's

frustration. He also grabbed 15 boards, 13 defensive, for his 35th

straight double-double, the longest streak in the NBA since Karl

Malone's 44 straight in 1982-83.

"Not much you can do," Denver's Marcus Camby said. "I thought

K-Mart was doing a pretty good job on him, but he was getting the

benefits of most of the calls. When he's playing like that, you

really can't touch a guy. He was getting to the free throw line and

knocking down free throws."

Mark Blount's off-balance jumper gave the Wolves a 112-109 lead

with 28 seconds left, setting up the final scramble in which

Anthony missed from all over.

"I believe if I get the ball in that situation I'm going to

make the shot," Anthony said.

Garnett scored nine points in the fourth quarter, when the

Timberwolves overcame a seven-point deficit. Rookie Craig Smith

added 20 points, Ricky Davis 19 and Mike James 18.

Garnett was most proud of his passing, however.

"I quarterbacked the team in the fourth quarter when they

converged on me," he said. "I was like Peyton Manning. I got the

ball to the right people."

After Anthony had a three-point play and a 3-pointer 20 seconds

apart to put Denver up 104-99, Garnett scored six straight points

to put the Wolves ahead for good at 105-104 with 3½ minutes

remaining.

Although Anthony didn't find reason to argue with any calls

against Minnesota, Martin did, and once again the Nuggets paid the

price.

Martin picked up a technical foul with 3 minutes left for

gesturing angrily at an official following his fifth personal, when

he leaned on a fallen Garnett near the basket. Davis hit the

technical and Garnett made three free throws to give the Wolves a

five-point cushion.

"No question technical fouls again hurt us," Karl said. "In a

close ballgame, missing free throws and giving free throws is not

the best advice to win a close game."Game notes
Earl Boykins scored 15 of his 28 points in the first half

as Denver took a 57-53 lead. ... Nuggets fans got their first look

at Nene since the 2004-05 season. The Brazilian forward sustained a

season-ending knee injury three minutes into last year's opener at

San Antonio. He finished with 13 points in 22 minutes.