Denver 114, Portland 107

DENVER, Feb. 2 (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony isn't sure what has to do to prove he's All-Star worthy.

Friday night was a good start.

Anthony overcame a sluggish start, nerves from a morning fender bender on an icy road, and a deep disappointment from his latest All-Star snub to score 33 points in the Denver Nuggets' 114-107 defeat of the Portland Trail Blazers.

It was the first game for the league's leading scorer since being passed over by Western Conference coaches who picked the All-Star reserves.

Anthony admitted the brushoff played a part in his sluggish start, which culminated in a technical foul for jawing with officials in the third quarter.

"If I tell you that I wasn't thinking about it, I'd be lying to you,'' he said. "It was in the back of my mind. I was thinking about it all day, about what more could I possibly do. But I will remain optimistic. (Commissioner) David Stern has a decision to make and we shall see what happens.''

Stern picks injury replacements, meaning Anthony's last hope of receiving his first All-Star selection rests in the hands of the man who suspended him 15 games for his role in the Nuggets' brawl with the New York Knicks in December.

"Hopefully, David Stern can forgive and forget, put it behind us and we'll see what happens,'' he said.

Anthony learned of his latest All-Star snub when his agent, Calvin Andrews, awoke him from a power nap with the bad news early Thursday evening.

"I had forgotten about the selection show. I was knocked out,'' Anthony said. "My agent called me and said, 'Look, you didn't make it, but don't worry about it, keep your head up.' All the sympathy talk, which I wasn't in the mood to hear at that moment. But after I thought about it, hey, things happen.''

Anthony said he was surprised by the rebuff, but knows his suspension was a key factor and he said he doesn't begrudge any of the players who did make it.

"You can't take nothing away from the guys who did get picked. The forwards in the West, it's kind of thick in the West, there's great forwards in the West,'' Anthony said.

The waiting is the hardest part, he said.

"I'm hoping he can make a decision quick so it can get out of my head,'' Anthony said. "Hopefully, it will happen in the next couple of days.''

Anthony turned to his teammates in overtime to end the Nuggets' four-game losing streak.

Nene scored a season-high 20 points in his best performance since tearing up a knee in last year's opener as the Nuggets avenged a loss at Portland 48 hours earlier, and Steve Blake dished out a career-high 14 assists to go with his 19 points, including eight in overtime.

Portland tied it at 97 with 2.5 seconds left in regulation on a 3-pointer Brandon Roy made despite having Yakhouba Diawara all over him.

"I thought it was a foul.'' Roy said. "I felt if I had missed it they should have called it. I thought he got me.''

The game went into overtime when Nene's tip-in off Anthony's miss came a split-second too late.

Nene put back Anthony's miss in the opening seconds of overtime, then Blake scored three straight baskets and J.R. Smith (17 points) scored five straight points before Blake scored again.

The Nuggets had scored 15 points in overtime and made seven straight baskets before Anthony got involved, sinking two free throws to cap the scoring.

The Trail Blazers, who snapped an eight-game losing streak against Denver on Wednesday night, lost their seventh straight at the Pepsi Center despite getting 25 points from Zach Randolph, 22 from Roy and 21 from Juan Dixon.

Allen Iverson missed his second straight game. He has a sprained ankle and the flu.

Smith and Anthony escaped injury Friday morning when Smith was at the wheel of one of Anthony's cars when it skidded on an icy road on the way to the team's shootaround.

"It was crazy,'' Anthony said. "We slid into another car and another car, so it was like a three-car collision. I'm glad ain't nobody get hurt.''

Smith said, "I was told not to say nothing. I was driving. The conditions were slick. It happened on a snow-packed road.''

The Nuggets shot 7-for-8 in overtime and the Trail Blazers couldn't stop Blake's drives to the basket.

"When you get into overtime, you've got to play some defense. You've got to get stops,'' Portland coach Nate McMillan lamented. "Blake took over this overtime and dominated it.''

Notes: Iverson won't make the team's trip to Sacramento on Saturday and will miss his third straight game. ... The Nuggets outscored Portland 31-0 on fast breaks. ... Roy had a season-best 11 assists. ... Denver has won six straight overtime games dating to last season.


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