Denver 108, Charlotte 101

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 12 (AP) -- Denver coach George Karl wasn't sure if his team played great defense or just took advantage of Charlotte's gifts.

Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points and the Nuggets forced the Bobcats into a franchise-worst 29 turnovers in a 108-101 victory over Charlotte on Sunday.

"I hope we forced some of them,'' Karl said. "We just wanted to crowd the ball better. That's something that has been our emphasis, slash at the ball when we have the opportunity. We anticipated the passing lanes pretty well.''

J.R. Smith and Andre Miller each added 17 points for the Nuggets, who scored 26 points off Charlotte's miscues to pick up their second straight win after an 0-3 start.

Brevin Knight scored 21 points but had seven turnovers, and Emeka Okafor had 22 points, 15 rebounds and six turnovers for the sloppy Bobcats, who have lost three in a row.

Rookie Adam Morrison struggled again, scoring just two points on 1-of-8 shooting.

Charlotte, which shattered its previous record of 26 turnovers, found a variety of ways to throw it away, from poor passes to offensive fouls. Raymond Felton, wearing a flak jacket to protect his bruised ribs, was called for a carrying violation early in the fourth quarter.

"We're careless,'' Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "The bottom line is our energy level. It looks like there is no stamina. We're not doing the dirty things, running down loose balls, consistently as a team.''

Anthony, who shot 13-for-22 and made 10 of 11 free throws, continually beat the Bobcats down the floor and inside. The Bobcats used different players on him and played some zone, but to no avail as he scored 30 or more points for the third time.

"Our chemistry has started coming back,'' Anthony said.

The Nuggets took the lead for good early in the second quarter and led by as many as 14 in the third. The Bobcats got within seven with a minute to play, but Gerald Wallace missed a dunk and Okafor bricked a layup after grabbing the rebound to end Charlotte's chances.

Unlike in the first three games when the Nuggets blew fourth-quarter leads of at least seven points, Denver held on against the bumbling Bobcats despite being without Nene, who bruised his right knee Friday. Still, Karl thinks the Nuggets have to do a better job closing out games.

"We always make the fourth quarter adventurous,'' Karl said. "Tonight, fortunately, we had a big lead, but our turnovers, our decisions kind of scare me a little bit.''

Denver also got 12 points off the bench from Reggie Evans. He did not play in Denver's first three games, then scored seven points against Philadelphia Friday.

"Either your sit on the bench and pout and not be ready or you sit and cheer the guys and stay mentally ready and positive,'' Evans said. "I come ready and bring a lot of energy off the bench.''

The Bobcats, who outshot and outrebounded Denver, got little help from Morrison, who came off the bench again after starting Friday's loss to Seattle when Felton sat out. Morrison missed his first four shots and didn't score until the third quarter. Anthony also beat him badly off the dribble in a three-point play in the first quarter.

"It's something I've got to work through. I've gone through adversity before,'' said Morrison, who is shooting 32 percent. "They're good shots.''

Charlotte shot 50 percent in the first half and led 16-8 early. But the Bobcats' 16 turnovers in the first half allowed the Nuggets to take a 55-47 halftime lead.

"It's careless. It's irresponsible. It's lack of concentration,'' Wallace said. "Our first two years it was mainly about the team first, the individuals second. I think everybody is too much focused on ourselves.

There's too much "I'' in the Bobcats right now.''

Notes: Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee later this week. He said doctors told him he'll miss six to eight weeks. ``I've got to get it done. There's no way around it,'' Martin said. ... Karl was asked if he thought Larry Brown might end up coaching the Bobcats, with Michael Jordan now a part owner. ``I know how much Larry enjoys teaching. This is a talented young team,'' Karl said. ``I know he loves Michael. There's a lot of love there. I think he'll coach somewhere again. I don't know if it will be NBA.''


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