Portland's four-game wins streak halted

DENVER (AP) -- One day after fellow rookie LeBron James scored a
career-high 38 points, Denver's Carmelo Anthony did him one better.

Anthony scored a career-high 39 points on 14-of-22 shooting, and
the Nuggets ended the Portland Trail Blazers' four-game winning
streak, 116-97 Monday night.

Anthony's previous high was 37 points against Houston on Dec.

The two star rookies are good friends, though Anthony insisted
he wasn't motivated by his Cleveland counterpart's performance.

"There ain't no competition between us in scoring," Anthony
said. "We won the game. That's all that matters.

"My jumper was falling early, and I took advantage of what the
defense gave me. They didn't double-team me as much as I expected,
and that opened things up for me. Once I had 24 in the first half,
I felt I had to go for 40. I missed a couple of free throws or I
would have had 40."

Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik pulled Anthony with 1:56 remaining.

"Carmelo is making great progress in terms of his overall
game," Bzdelik said. "He's running the court real well, and
defensively he's doing some things that are good in terms of
weakside help and awareness. We showed him some film of Scottie
Pippen. And he's learning from all of that. He's doing a lot of
great things for us outside of just scoring."

Anthony's 39 points were the most by a Nuggets player since Nick
Van Exel scored 44 on Nov. 1, 2001. Anthony's career high in his
one year at Syracuse was 33 points.

Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said Anthony "was great. That's a
career high for him, 39 points, and he had a highlight-film 39
points. He was better than anybody that guarded him tonight. He
made drives, he made jump shots, he made the game look easy."

The Nuggets pulled away in the second half with runs of 15-6 and

Nene added 20 points and Voshon Lenard 13 as Denver posted its
third straight win.

Portland, hurt by 24 turnovers, was led by Zach Randolph's 28
points and 11 rebounds. Darius Miles had 20 points and Damon
Stoudamire 13.

Nuggets center Marcus Camby left the game early in the third
quarter after bruising his left shoulder and did not return. He was
listed as day-to-day.

Denver's 15-6 run in the third quarter opened up an 81-69 lead.
Lenard had seven points and Anthony five during the flurry, while
Earl Boykins added a 3-pointer that just beat the shot clock. The
Trail Blazers had 10 turnovers in the period.

Qyntel Woods scored early in the final quarter, cutting the
deficit to 89-82. But Denver responded with the next nine points,
capped by Anthony's fast-break layup, and then scored eight of the
game's next 13 points.

Anthony finished the surge with an alley-oop fast-break basket
on a pass from Jon Barry for a 106-87 lead with 4:42 remaining.

Anthony had 16 points in the first quarter and the Nuggets shot
64 percent en route to a 36-21 lead. Portland had seven turnovers
in the quarter.

Anthony scored 10 straight Denver points early in the first as
the Nuggets jumped out to a 16-8 lead. His driving slam dunk
triggered an 8-0 run that produced a 28-14 lead.

The Trail Blazers outscored Denver 36-23 in the second quarter,
shooting 61 percent to cut the deficit to 59-57 at halftime.
Wallace had 10 points in the quarter and Randolph eight.

Anthony's alley-oop basket on a pass from Nene gave Denver a
48-36 lead midway through the second quarter, but Portland
countered with a 9-0 surge that included four free throws by
Randolph and Stoudamire's 3-pointer. Stoudamire's jumper at the
buzzer cut the deficit to two.

Game notes
Lenard returned to the lineup after missing the previous
three games with a strained right quadriceps. ... Anthony was named
Western Conference rookie of the month for the third consecutive
month. ... The loss also snapped the Trail Blazers' four-game road
winning streak.


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