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Billups' double-double helps Nuggets overwhelm Nets

DENVER -- New Jersey's 44-point rout of Denver last month had the Nuggets thinking payback.

Monday night, they got revenge against a hurting Nets team.

J.R. Smith and Nene scored 19 points each, Chauncey Billups had 14 points and 10 assists and Denver extended its winning streak to three with a 121-96 win over the Nets.

"We looked forward to playing this game by the way they spanked us last time," Billups said.

Vince Carter scored 32 points for the Nets, who went 0-4 on the Western Conference portion of their five-game road trip. New Jersey plays at the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

"This was a tough trip for us," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We had some close calls, but couldn't finish some of the games."

The Nets played without injured point guard Devin Harris and forward Sean Williams, who was arrested Monday at a cell phone store in a mall in suburban Denver on accusations he got into an argument with a clerk and threw a computer monitor.

At about 2 p.m. Monday, officers responded to a disturbance at a cell phone store at the Park Meadows Mall, Detective Sgt. Ron Pinson of the Lone Tree police said.

Damages were estimated at $1,200 to $1,300, he said.

Pinson said Williams was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and felony criminal mischief. He was taken into custody without any further incident and transported to the Douglas County Jail, where he posted bond. Pinson didn't know the amount of Williams' bond.

The Nets declined to comment about Williams after Monday's loss.

"I'm not going to talk about Sean," Frank said.

Harris sprained his left shoulder in Sunday's loss to the Clippers. Frank said Harris will be evaluated Tuesday.

The players said Harris was missed.

"The way we are, we need everybody," Carter said. "Devin has gone down and we need everybody. We need younger guys to step up more and go above the call of duty."

Harris scored 28 points in New Jersey's 114-70 win over the Nuggets on Feb. 7. Without him Monday, the Nets faded in the second half. Denver led 49-43 at the break and extended it to 14 in the third quarter despite a big period by Carter. Carter, who had 41 in New Jersey's last-second loss to the Clippers, scored 17 points in the period, including all five of his 3-pointers, and helped New Jersey stay within 83-72 heading into the fourth.

Smith hit four of his six 3-pointers in the final period to help blow open the game.

"I was really happy with the second unit," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "They were on the fence of substitution, and instead of giving the game back to the first unit they took the game back and finished it off. I think we need some more of that. Anything that can conserve our energy and keep stuff in the gas tank."

With the win the Nuggets maintained a half-game lead over Portland in the Northwest Division and extended their lead over Utah to 1½ games.

"We're getting better. We're coming back to where we need to be at," Billups said.

The Nuggets used a 17-2 run to lead by 14 in the first quarter. The Nets came right back with a run of their own. Keyon Dooling hit a 3-pointer at the end of the quarter as part of a 12-2 New Jersey spurt that cut the lead to 30-26. But Denver bounced back to push the lead to nine.

Game notes
Nuggets F Kenyon Martin returned after missing two games and five of the last six with a strained lower back. He scored eight points in 15 minutes and didn't play in the second half. ... Denver F Renaldo Balkman left the game in the third period with a left groin strain and did not return. Karl said he there's a chance he'll play Wednesday at Memphis. ... Carter has scored 30 or more points in 10 games this season. ... Denver's 43-25 mark ties the franchise's NBA record after 68 games.