Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/1

Game 1: Saturday, November 1st
Game 2: Sunday, January 11th
Game 3: Sunday, February 8th
Game 4: Monday, April 12th

Kings 88

(2-1, 0-1 away)

Nuggets 109


7:00 PM ET, November 1, 2003

Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 25 30 23 1088
DEN 34 32 21 22109

Top Performers

Sac: M. Bibby 15 Pts, 3 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

Den: C. Anthony 23 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

Anthony scores 23 points to lead Nuggets

DENVER --The Denver Nuggets got a complete game out of Carmelo Anthony in only his third game as a pro.

Anthony had 23 points, six rebounds and five assists in his best showing of a young season, leading the Nuggets to a 109-88 win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

Anthony, who shot 9-for-29 in his first two games, was 9-for-14.

"I was edgy my first two games just to get out there and start my career," said Anthony, the No. 3 pick overall in the NBA draft who led Syracuse to the NCAA championship as a freshman last spring. "You saw me settle down more than I did the first two games."

Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said his prize rookie "is doing great. Let's face it, he's a young man. There is a lot of pressure. Opening night it was (San Antonio's) Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan (defending him). The next night, Houston had the long arms and is very athletic. He's playing great."

Voshon Lenard had 15 points, and Chris Andersen and Rodney White came off the bench to score 12 apiece for the Nuggets, who placed seven players in double figures. Andersen also had 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. Marcus Camby had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Denver, 17-65 a year ago, has now beaten two of the NBA's best teams. The Nuggets defeated the defending champion Spurs on Wednesday night.

Peja Stojakovic led Sacramento with 19 points. Mike Bibby added 15 points and 10 assists, and Brad Miller had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Denver pushed the pace, getting a number of fast-break baskets and easy layups.

"We had the tempo the way we wanted it," Bzdelik said. "It was a great win against a great opponent."

Sacramento shot just 36 percent compared to Denver's 49 percent.

"They outplayed us, they outhustled us, they wanted it," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "They took it to us in every phase of the game. They were pushing it up the court and being very aggressive.

"We played at a frantic pace instead of the way we wanted to play. We quick-shot it, we turned it over -- we just fueled whatever they were trying to do. We have to be a smarter team than that."

Asked to compare Anthony with Cleveland's LeBron James, whom the Kings played Wednesday, Adelman said, "They are both very good young players with skills. No matter what their age is, if they are talented and they have some confidence, they are going to do well.

"Anthony struggled the first two games, but he got it going tonight. That's going to be the big thing -- when they have the bumps in the road, how they keep it going. It helps Anthony the way the Nuggets play. He can be a little freewheeling."

The Nuggets, leading 87-78 after three quarters, scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer by White.

Earl Boykins' rebound basket made it 98-81, and Boykins' driving layup and Lenard's jumper put the Nuggets up 102-83 with 4:58 left.

Anthony added a three-point play with 3:27 to go.

The Kings scored just 10 points in the final period on 4-of-21 shooting.

Anthony scored eight points in the first quarter and the Nuggets used runs of 9-2 and 10-2 to jump out to a 34-25 lead.

The Nuggets led 66-55 at intermission.

Nene's three-point play pushed the lead back to 12 points early in the third quarter.

Sacramento trimmed the deficit to 76-68 midway through the period on layups by Doug Christie and Stojakovic. But Denver responded with a 12-4 flurry, including back-to-back slam dunks by Anthony and Francisco Elson, for an 87-72 lead with 2:31 left in the period.

The Kings scored the last six points of the quarter, including four by Gerald Wallace, to make it 87-78.

Game notes

Sacramento's Chris Webber (knee) and Lawrence Funderburke (Achilles' tendon) remain on the injured list following surgery. ... The win snapped Denver's eight-game losing streak to Sacramento. ... Andersen had seven blocked shots, a career high. His previous best was five, on April 9, 2002, at Memphis. ... Denver's bench outscored Sacramento's bench 46-26.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press