<
>

'Melo's three lifts Nuggets over reeling Wolves in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Denver got the ball to Carmelo Anthony just
in time.

Anthony scored 30 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer
in overtime following two straight Denver turnovers, to give the
Nuggets a 102-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday
night.

"Yeah, I think that was the best of any big shot I've hit, most
likely," Anthony said. "I didn't have nothing to do, but to
shoot."

"That game was just fun to play in," he added. "An adrenaline
rush."

After Minnesota took the lead with the help of two straight
steals, Anthony launched the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.4
seconds left and Trenton Hassell right on him. As the ball went
through the net, Wolves coach Dwane Casey slammed the scorer's
table in frustration.

"I don't know how much closer Trenton Hassell could have been
to Carmelo," Casey said.

The Timberwolves had a foul to give on the play, but Hassell was
pump faked and didn't want to put Anthony on the line for three
shots.

"I was wrong," Hassell said. "Maybe I should've grabbed him
and took my chances putting him on the line. I'll do it next
time."

Andre Miller had 19 points and 13 assists for Denver, which has
won four of five. Kenyon Martin, who sat out Denver's last game
with an injured left knee, scored 18 off the bench and DerMarr
Johnson tied a season-high with 17.

Kevin Garnett had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the
Timberwolves, who have lost 13 of their last 17. Ricky Davis and
Marcus Banks each added 19, but Minnesota fell to 0-4 in overtime
games. Garnett shot just 8-for-21 from the field and missed tough
shots at the end of regulation and overtime.

"We've been snakebitten a lot this year," Garnett said.

"He hit a tough, tough powerball shot. Like those people who
worked for the meat factory that hit the lotto."

Denver was leading 99-95 in overtime when Mark Blount hit a
jumper for Minnesota. Hassell then stole the inbounds pass and fed
Garnett for a one-handed alley-oop to tie it. After a Denver
timeout, Davis picked off Martin's inbounds pass, raced down court
and hit a pull-up jumper to give the Wolves a 101-99 lead.

"I tried to put that out of my mind as much as possible, but I
couldn't," Martin said of his mistake. "Melo bailed me out and I
said thanks after the game."

Denver got the ball into Anthony's hands on its next possession,
and he hit the game-winner.

Trailing 75-67, the Wolves rallied to tie it with a 14-6 run to
start the fourth, capped by Davis' four-point play. Banks' two free
throws at the 4:50 mark gave Minnesota its first lead, 83-81, since
the second quarter.

The Wolves held on to the lead until Miller made one of two foul
shots with 45.2 seconds left to tie it at 88. Minnesota had a
chance to win it in regulation, but Garnett badly missed a
20-footer at the buzzer.

Ruben Patterson, Reggie Evans and Charles Smith, acquired by the
Nuggets as part of a four-team, nine-player deal, were all with
Denver but unavailable pending the finalization of the trade.

The Nuggets had only nine players dressed for the game,
including Julius Hodge, who didn't arrive at Target Center until
the second quarter after being activated from Austin of the NBDL.

Denver started the third quarter with a 9-2 run to take a 58-52
lead at the 8:35 mark. Johnson had four points during the stretch,
and scored four more in the quarter, as the Nuggets took an 75-67
lead into the fourth.

Denver shot 11-for-18 in the first quarter to take a 28-22
lead.

Game notes
Minnesota is 4-10 since the seven-player trade with Boston.
... Minnesota had only had four field goals in the third quarter,
as many as both Johnson and Anthony. ... Greg Buckner hyperextended
his right knee during the fourth quarter of Denver's last game, and
was inactive on Friday. ... Martin said he wasn't even supposed to
play, but had to with only seven players available at the start of
the game.