DENVER, April 10 (Ticker) -- Carmelo Anthony
boosted his Rookie of the
Year chances while lifting the Denver Nuggets' playoff chances.
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Anthony forced overtime with a tough jumper, then scored six of
his 30 points in overtime as the Nuggets posted a critical
110-100 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Locked in a battle with Cleveland's LeBron James
for Rookie of
the Year, Anthony may have earned a leg up with his latest
performance. He nailed a fadeaway 18-footer over defensive
demon Ruben Patterson
with 3.7 seconds left in regulation that
forged a 94-94 tie.
"It just came down to that last shot," Anthony said. "I knew
Ruben was going to force me inside. Once he gave me some space I
took the shot. It seemed like it took forever to go in."
Anthony opened the extra session with a pair of jumpers, and
Denver never looked back. The 19-year-old capped a 10-1 tear to
start overtime with a one-handed leakout dunk for a 104-95
advantage with 1:39 left.
Denver (42-38) remained tied with Utah for the eighth and final
playoff spot in the Western Conference. It holds the tiebreaker
edge over both Utah and Portland.
"We're still alive. This was a heckuva basketball game," Denver
coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Portland played a lot of games this
week, but so did we. Both teams really battled it out. Carmelo
made a lot of big-time shots. I rate this as one of the best big
The Trail Blazers (41-39) fell one game back and can point to an
0-4 record against the Nuggets if their postseason streak of 21
years - the longest current run in the NBA - comes to an end.
Portland hurt itself with some terrible execution down the
stretch. After Anthony's tying jumper late in regulation, the
Trail Blazers had a chance to win. But they went to Damon Stoudamire
, and Denver gave a foul. The Trail Blazers felt it
was a shooting foul.
"That was a shooting foul," Stoudamire said. "They got a gift. I
can't really say nothing else about it. If they fouled me on
the floor, then how did I get a shot off? Sometimes it happens
Portland had one more chance and inbounded to Stoudamire, who
was double-teamed and woefully short on a contested jumper. The
execution didn't get any better in the overtime, with Portland
making 2-of-10 shots. Derek Anderson
was 1-of-4 from the floor,
missing a pair of ill-advised jumpers.
"It was awful," Anderson said. "That overtime we didn't play
well. They played well in that overtime. I think they worked
harder in that overtime and had a little more juice. I give them
credit in overtime and give us credit in regulation."
For Anthony, his late burst made up for some defensive struggles
in the fourth quarter. Portland's Darius Miles
Anthony for nine of his 23 points in that period, keeping his
Neither team led by more than three points in the final five
minutes of regulation. The Trail Blazers appeared poised to win
it after a tough turnaround jumper by Zach Randolph
seconds remaining provided a 94-92 lead.