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Denver ends five-game skid

DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony never experienced a five-game
losing streak until this season with the Denver Nuggets. He didn't
want to taste a sixth straight loss and he did something about it.

Anthony had 25 points and Voshon Lenard added 16 as the Denver
Nuggets ended a five-game losing streak with a 107-96 victory over
the New York Knicks on Sunday night.

"Five in a row was tough enough to take and we needed this one
badly," Anthony said. "This one put us back on track where we're
supposed to be."

That would be with a 2{-game lead over idle Utah for the eighth
spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

New York has dropped six in a row.

"Carmelo is a very confident player and a very mature player,
too," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "He is learning the pro
game well and doesn't appear ready to hit the wall."

Anthony, who shot 8-for-15, played only a minute into the fourth
quarter. Francisco Elson had 12 points and Nene and Earl Boykins 11
points each for the Nuggets, who also ended a three-game losing
streak to the Knicks.

Kurt Thomas led New York with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Reserve
Shandon Anderson had 17 points and Tim Thomas 16 as the Knicks
matched their longest losing streak of the year.

"We are killing ourselves with turnovers," said New York coach
Lenny Wilkens who watched 27 Knicks turnovers turned into 33
points. "We had 17 in the first half, a lot of them unforced. We
have to be more patient."

Boykins had four points in a 6-0 spurt early in the fourth
quarter to put Denver ahead 90-72. But the Knicks had a 7-0 run,
and baskets by Nazr Mohammed and Anfernee Hardaway get New York to
within 93-83 with 6:25 remaining. Baskets by White and Lenard and
two free throws by Nene put the Nuggets up by 99-86.

"I sat down the fourth quarter and it didn't bother me,"
Anthony said. "I always want to be out there, but as long as our
lead was close to 11, I didn't mind."

New York made a final run on jumpers by Anderson and Kurt Thomas
with 3:10 remaining. The Nuggets got a rebound dunk by Chris
Andersen and a layup from White. The Knicks had only a 3-pointer by
Tim Thomas and one free throw from Shandon Anderson the rest of the
way.

Already ahead by nine, Andre Miller hit two jumpers between an
airball by Dikembe Mutombo to put Denver ahead 56-43 early in the
second half. Elson had four points and Anthony a 3-pointer in a
four-minute stretch that gave the Nuggets their biggest lead,
80-63.

The Knicks cut the deficit to 84-72 by the end of the third
quarter on a jumper by Kurt Thomas and basket and free throw by
Hardaway.

With its starters on the bench, Denver maintained its 10-point
advantage through the first five minutes of the second quarter as
Boykins finished fast breaks with a jumper and a 3-pointer.

Allan Houston, who missed the last 11 games with a sore left
knee, got it down to 43-35 on a jumper with 4:50 left. But Anthony
hit three shots, including a 3-pointer, and two free throws.

Baskets by Hardaway and Kurt Thomas made it a nine-point game at
the half.

Houston connected on his first shot of the game and had five
points, but the Knicks had nine turnovers in the first quarter to
fall behind 31-21. Anthony had seven points and the Nuggets
converted the turnovers into 14 points in the period.

"There were a couple of things that I saw tonight with it being
my first time back that we really aren't doing well," Houston
said. "We aren't playing pick-and-roll as well, and we are not
giving our offense a chance."<
^Notes: Mutombo received a standing ovation when he entered the game
in the second quarter and then was roundly booed when he elbowed
Elson to the floor. ... The Knicks are 2-4 on Feb. 29; the Nuggets
are 1-4. ... New York is 10-11 under Lenny Wilkens. ... Marcus
Camby sat out with a strained right groin. ... Denver is 9-9 on the
second night of back-to-back games

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