Anthony, Nuggets Elude Hornets
Denver 91, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 81
OKLAHOMA CITY, Nov. 16 (Ticker) -- Carmelo Anthony did not let the Denver Nuggets watch another late lead disappear on the road.
Anthony scored 19 of his 31 points in the second half as the Nuggets picked up their first road win, a 91-81 victory over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
However, the Hornets opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 spurt, capped by Desmond Mason's jumper with 9:53 left that cut the deficit to 71-69 and prompted a timeout from Nuggets coach George Karl.
"We had the same thing happen to us last night against Dallas, and we started having flashbacks," Anthony said. "George called timeout, and he told us to stay focused and not let this one slip away."
The stoppage proved to be effective as the Nuggets scored the next 13 points to pull away. Anthony hit a pair of free throws and drained a fast-break 3-pointer with just over nine minutes remaining.
After Earl Boykins hit a pair from the line, Anthony converted a layup before Eduardo Najera and Earl Watson each hit two free throws to make it 84-69 with 5:41 left.
"I tried to give Carmelo some rest, but he's one of the best offensive players in basketball and we obviously need him in the game," Karl said.
The Hornets drew within 88-81 on rookie Chris Paul's jumper with 56 seconds left and had a chance to get closer after Andre Miller missed two free throws. But Paul had his shot blocked by Marcus Camby, got the loose ball and missed another shot with 40 seconds to go.
Andre Miller made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Earl Watson sparked the Nuggets with 10 points and three steals off the bench.
"Earl was our MVP tonight," Anthony said. "I think anyone else in his situation would be complaining about playing time, but he came in and gave us a spark.
"Earl played a hell of a game tonight. He came in and got our defense back on track," Karl said. "He did a great job matching up on Speedy (Claxton) and Chris Paul."
Camby scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half, when the Nuggets shot 56 percent (22-of-39) from the field to take a 49-44 lead, Camby also pulled down 15 rebounds.
Paul had 18 points and a season-high nine rebounds for the Hornets, who missed all 13 of their shots from the arc. David West scored a career-high 16 points for the second straight game.
In the Hornets' five losses, they have been beaten by the opponent's brightest star putting up big numbers. They surrendered 31 points to Cleveland's LeBron James, 24 to Orlando's Steve Francis, 30 to Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, 25 to Miami's Dwyane Wade and 31 to Anthony.
"We don't have a Dwyane Wade, or a Nowitzki," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We just have to run our sets and find a guy that wants to hit a big shot."
Denver played without starting forward Kenyon Martin, who aggravated a sore left knee in Tuesday's loss in Dallas. Hornets guard J.R. Smith again did not dress due to a sprained left ankle.