'Melo, K-Mart spark Nuggets' rally past Bulls

CHICAGO (AP) -- Denver spotted Chicago an 18-point lead and it still wasn't enough to finish off Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin
and the Nuggets.

Anthony scored 39 points and Martin added 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead Denver to a 97-94 win over the Bulls on Monday.

The Nuggets trailed by 18 in the first half and shot only 34.2 percent to Chicago's 51.3 percent, including 7-for-11 from 3-point range.

"I wasn't really happy how we played in the first half," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We made them really good. We didn't pass the ball well and forced shots."

But Anthony, Martin and Earl Watson all stepped up in second half. Anthony scored 22 points, including hitting 12-of-13 free throws. Watson was 4-for-5 from 3-point range, scoring 14 of his 16 points in the second half and Martin had 11 points and eight rebounds.

"This team is still growing. Now we're coming back by huge deficits and that's the kind of team we want to be," Watson said.

Trailing 91-86 with 2:12 left in the game, the Nuggets outscored Chicago 11-3 in the final minutes to come from behind. Anthony hit two free throws and Martin added one before then Watson hit a 3 from the top of the key to give Denver a 92-91 lead with 48.7 seconds left.

Chicago missed two opportunities to take the lead or tie. Andres Nocioni's shot missed badly in the lane with 36.3 left. Martin came back to score between Tyson Chandler and Darius Songaila to put Denver up three.

"The shot clock was running down. I tried to get it up to the basket and tried to hit the rim and then get an offensive rebound. I make a lot of hard shots, but not like that. It was incredible," said Martin.

Nocioni missed an open 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. Anthony hit two free throws to make it 96-91. Gordon cut the lead to 96-94 on a 3-pointer with three seconds left, but Anthony hit 1-of-2 free throws and Chris Duhon missed a shot just within the timeline at the buzzer to tie it.

Kirk Hinrich scored 20 points and Songaila added 14 points for Chicago, which has lost 11 of its last 14 games.

Bulls head coach Scott Skiles and general manager John Paxson were disappointed with the officiating after the game. Paxson tried to confront the officials after the game and Skiles questioned why Hinrich wasn't drawing more fouls.

The Nuggets attempted 41 foul shots to the Bulls' 12.

Hinrich said he's getting used to not getting calls.

"It's something that used to bother me in my first couple of years but at this point, I go into every game knowing I'm not going to get any calls, and just play through it," he said.

Andre Miller had 12 points and nine assists for Denver.

Trailing 77-76 at the end of the third quarter, the Bulls were able to take advantage with Anthony and Martin on the bench to start the fourth quarter. The Bulls scored the first eight points and Songaila put the Bulls up 84-77 on a basket with 8:27 left.

"When we took Kenyon and Carmelo off the court in the fourth quarter it wasn't pretty," said Karl.

The Nuggets cut into the lead on a rebound-dunk from Martin to get within 86-84. Gordon gave Chicago a 91-86 lead with 2:12 left on a three-point play.

After being down 18 in the second quarter, Denver got it down to 53-43 at the half.

The Nuggets closed the third quarter by outscoring Chicago 19-6. Anthony sparked the Nuggets with nine points during the span.

Game notes
The Nuggets' Greg Buckner was back playing after missing two games with a right wrist sprain. ... Chicago held Denver's reserves without a field goal. "I thought it was clear that our bench wasn't in the game, that's the worst they've played in a long time," Karl said.

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