Anthony explodes for 17 points in fourth quarter

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Kenyon Martin had just been ejected, the
Denver Nuggets' deficit was growing and the howling New Orleans
crowd was on its feet.

That's when Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby huddled their team
together for a pep talk.

"We were a little rattled, so we had to get everybody together
and just tell them, 'Look, let's cut the lead down and we'll fight
back from there," Anthony said. "Somebody had to get it going
out there."

The strategy worked. The Nuggets dominated the final 10 minutes
to erase an 11-point deficit and beat the Hornets 94-93 on Sunday

Anthony scored 17 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth
quarter, while Camby had three of his seven blocks, three of his 10
rebounds and a steal during that final stretch.

Anthony hit all 14 free throws he took, 10 in the final period,
and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Earl Boykins scored 16 points, hitting all six of his free
throws -- including two with 4.6 seconds left to ice the game for
Denver, which finished the game on a 15-7 run.

Dan Dickau hit a meaningless 3 at the buzzer and led New Orleans
with 22 points, but he also accounted for one of what turned out to
be three critical missed free throws by the Hornets in the fourth

The Nuggets shot 33-of-36 from the foul line, while the Hornets
finished 19-of-24. Denver also outscored New Orleans 25-2 on fast
breaks while forcing 24 Hornets turnovers -- the third straight time
a Nuggets opponent had committed at least 20.

Hornets coach Byron Scott, who often stresses fundamentals like
transition defense and protecting the ball to his young, rebuilding
squad, said he was disappointed to see the Hornets fail in both

"We lose this game by one point," Scott said. "All of the
things we talk about and all of the things we work on in practice --
they have to start registering. It is very important for us as a
team to understand that we don't have that big of a margin for

Martin had scored 12 points for Denver, including a pair of
alley-oop dunks, when his repeated bickering with officials got him
called for a second technical foul, resulting in his ejection.

Casey Jacobsen made the technical free throw, then Bostjan
Nachbar hit a 3-pointer to give New Orleans its largest lead of the
game at 78-67 with 10:12 left.

"When K-Mart got ejected, I told the team that, 'We can do
this, just like we did it the other night" in an overtime victory
at Memphis, Camby said. "Then Melo got hot and really was the
difference for us."

Anthony, who was only 5-of-15 from the field through three
quarters, hit three of his next four shots, including a 3-pointer,
and added four free throws to help Denver tie the game at 86 with
3:34 to go.

"Thank God for 48-minute games," said Denver coach George
Karl, now 10-4 since taking over for Jeff Bzdelik, who was fired
Dec. 28. "In basketball, you can win a lot of ways and we're
showing that. Our offense was not good until the fourth quarter."

After rookie Jackson Vroman, making his first start for New
Orleans, scored inside and later hit a free throw to put the
Hornets ahead by three, Anthony made four consecutive free throws
to give Denver its first lead since early in the second quarter.

Dickau tied the game by making one of two free throws. Then
Claxton appeared to give the Hornets the lead when he drew contact
and made a driving layup. It was first ruled a defensive foul, but
official Courtney Kirkland overturned the call to a charge, leaving
the score tied.

Bryon Russell then drove the baseline, nearly losing his
balance, but was able to face the hoop underneath and put in a
close-range shot to give Denver a 92-90 lead.

Russell and Andre Miller both finished with 12 points.

Jacobsen scored 15, while fellow Hornets reserve Chris Andersen
had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Nachbar finished with 11.

Jacobsen score 13 consecutive Hornets points in the first half,
hitting both 3-pointers he took to help New Orleans open a lead
that got as large as 41-33 after J.R. Smith's 3-pointer.

Denver called timeout and came back with a 13-5 run that opened
with Martin's soaring one-handed jam on an alley-oop pass from
Camby. Anthony added a strong inside basket and a pair of free
throws to cut it to 46-44.

Dickau broke the run with a jumper and the Hornets took a 50-44
lead into halftime.

Game notes
Claxton, acquired in a trade that sent Baron Davis to
Golden State, saw his first playing time with the Hornets with 3:19
left in the first quarter. He became the eighth different player at
point guard for New Orleans this season and had five points. ...
Camby's fourth rebound, which came in the first half, gave him
4,000 for his career. ... Boykins has scored in double figures in
16 of 17 games and has made 126 of his last 130 free throws.