Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Carmelo Anthony finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, as the Denver Nuggets topped the Houston Rockets 113-106 at Pepsi Center.
Nene notched a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards and Arron Afflalo added 15 points in the win, giving head coach George Karl his 298th career victory with the Nuggets.
Chauncey Billups scored 13 and Kenyon Martin rounded out the starting five with 11 points and six rebounds for Denver, which has won four straight.
Luis Scola led Houston with 24 points. Kyle Lowry contributed 21 points and Chase Budinger scored 13 in a reserve role for the Rockets, who have dropped three of four.
The game stayed close in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but after two Anthony free throws and a Nene three-point play, the Denver advantage was eight, 103-95, with 3:09 remaining.
Scola then added a jumper and Anthony responded with two from the line. Denver’s lead hit a game-high 10 on two Nene free throws with 2:22 remaining.
The teams traded shots down the stretch, but the Denver advantage never fell below five.
“They closed the game better than us,” said Scola. “It was an even match until that point.”
Anthony shot just 10-of-25 from the floor and did a lot of his damage at the foul line, hitting 13 of his 14 free throws. Karl said a lot factored into his star’s good night.
“I thought he was the hardest guy to cover on the court,” Karl said.
Denver led 25-21 after the first, but the Rockets rallied to tie the game, 52-52, at halftime. The teams were knotted at 81 after a tight third quarter.
Denver played without Al Harrington, who missed his fourth straight game with a dislocated right thumb…The Nuggets have won four of their last five with the Rockets, including a 107-94 win in Houston on October 30…Denver scored 46 of its points in the paint…Ty Lawson scored 12 points in a reserve role for Denver…Courtney Lee and Brad Miller scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Houston…The Rockets dished out 27 assists.
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