Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/29

Game 1: Monday, November 29th
Game 2: Sunday, February 27th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 6th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 13th

Nuggets 94

(43-31, 17-21 away)

Hornets 83

(18-56, 11-26 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, April 6, 2005

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 24 26 24 2094
    NO 20 17 18 2883

    Top Performers

    Den: M. Camby 11 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Blk

    NO: C. Andersen 9 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 7 Blk

    Melo leads six Nuggets in double figures

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Denver's recent string of victories should give coach George Karl a lot to be happy about. Yet he didn't sound too pleased after the Nuggets held off a late rally to defeat the New Orleans Hornets.

    "Some of our pros didn't show a lot of professionalism," Karl said after the Nuggets allowed a 20-point, fourth-quarter lead to drop to seven before wrapping up a 94-83 victory Wednesday night.

    "Anytime we take Marcus Camby out of the game we lose control of rebounding the ball and it's getting to be a problem," Karl said. "To me, it's a lack of doing your job, being responsible to an area of basketball that takes some work. ... In playoff games, we need more than one guy to rebound."

    Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points to lead six Denver players in double figures as the Nuggets won their fifth straight game. But Karl was upset over how New Orleans went on a 14-1 run with Camby out of the game in the fourth quarter. Chris Andersen keyed the spurt for New Orleans and finished with a career-high seven blocked shots to go with 12 rebounds and nine points before being helped off the floor with a sprained right ankle inside the final two minutes.

    The Hornets finished with a 46-41 rebounding edge, 13-7 on the offensive end.

    "Andersen's not an easy guy to box out, but he can be boxed out. You've got to finish off the play," Karl said.

    Dan Dickau led New Orleans with 20 points and reserve Lee Nailon scored 16.

    But the Nuggets, who've won 11 of 12 games, didn't need to be great to beat the worst team in the Western Conference.

    Andre Miller scored 16, hitting a jumper and a pair of free throws in the final two minutes to stem the Hornets' late rally.

    "We were having a little bit too much fun out there, acting like the game was over when it wasn't over," said DerMarr Johnson, who scored 12 points, all in the first half. "We don't want to pick up habits like that going into the playoffs. We can't continue to do that. We need to finish the games."

    Denver won its second road game in two nights and fourth straight away from home overall, staying a game ahead of Memphis for the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoffs while pulling within a half game of Houston for sixth.

    "You can't complain about a win," Anthony said. "We're trying to make a push. If we get there, we're going to keep trying to move up."

    Camby had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Denver, Wesley Person scored 12 and Nene 10.

    Denver opened up a 70-47 lead in the third quarter after Anthony scored seven quick points, first spinning around Bostjan Nachbar and muscling in a layup as he was fouled, then hitting a jumper and a fast-break layup. All five Denver starters were in double figures before the end of the period.

    "For whatever reason it looked like we just weren't here tonight," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Again, we get down early. When you get down early to a good team like this, it's going to be hard to keep trying to fight back. ... Tonight it caught up to us."

    Kenyon Martin's follow dunk and free throws midway through the fourth quarter gave Denver a 85-65 lead before New Orleans went on a 14-1 run to make it 86-79 on Dickau's driving floater.

    Denver first began to pull away in the second quarter with an 11-4 run capped by Eduardo Najera's dunk on a baseline cut for a 35-28 lead.

    New Orleans shot only 30 percent in the first half, with the normally accurate J.R. Smith opening 0-for-7, mostly from outside.

    Game notes

    Dickau was listed as questionable with a bruised left shoulder -- an injury from the Hornets' victory at Atlanta a night earlier -- but started the game with a wrap on his shoulder and chest. ... Denver is 3-0 in New Orleans this season. ... The Hornets have lost six straight at home. ... Denver was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, while New Orleans was 3-for-14. ... Hornets C Jamaal Magloire said a day earlier that he wasn't getting enough shots. Against Denver he was 1-for-7 for three points. ... Anthony said he suspects Karl would like a first-round playoff matchup with Seattle, a team Karl once coached. "That's what he wants. He hasn't said anything, but I can sense it."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 83
    FGM-FGA 33-76 (.434) 32-85 (.376)
    3PM-3PA 3-3 (1.000) 3-14 (.214)
    FTM-FTA 25-31 (.806) 16-18 (.889)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-41 13-46
    Assists 23 18
    Turnovers 12 16
    Steals 8 3
    Blocks 5 12
    Fast Break Points 17 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 23 0

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Marcus Camby Camby
    Points: 11
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3
    Chris Andersen Andersen
    Points: 9
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 7