Final / 3OT

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/2

Game 1: Friday, December 2nd
Game 2: Tuesday, January 10th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 15th
Game 4: Saturday, March 25th

Suns 137

(22-12, 9-6 away)

Nuggets 139

(18-18, 12-8 home)

Coverage: ALT

7:00 PM ET, January 10, 2006

Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

1 2 3 4 OT 2OT 3OT T
PHX 25 28 32 21 11 8 12137
DEN 26 29 24 27 11 8 14139

Top Performers

PHX: S. Marion 28 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Den: C. Anthony 43 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

'Melo's 43, game-winner lift Nuggets in 3 OT thriller

DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony didn't mind the extra work, not even when he got kneed in the face in the middle of the third overtime.

"I wasn't going to miss no time, not in a game like that," said Anthony, who scored 43 points, including the game-winner with 2.9 seconds left that sent the Denver Nuggets past the Phoenix Suns 139-137.

Anthony played the final 2½ minutes with watery eyes and tissue paper in his left nostril to keep blood from gushing out after he was inadvertently kicked in the face by teammate Eduardo Najera.

Eddie House was short on a long jumper after a timeout. Shawn Marion tried unsuccessfully to toss it back up and send the game to a fourth overtime as the buzzer sounded.

"We played with a lot of heart for seven periods," said Earl Boykins, who added a career-best 33 points for the Nuggets in their first triple-overtime game in a decade.

It was the Suns' second triple-overtime game this month alone: They lost at New York on Jan. 2.

"I don't know what it is about overtimes," lamented Suns coach Mike D'Antoni. "We don't get overtime pay, so I don't know why we do it."

Predictably, Nuggets coach George Karl loved it.

"I feel great. It was a great basketball game, we made a great effort," Karl said. "We won a tough one and beat a good basketball team in a great game."

Raja Bell led Phoenix with 30 points, followed by Marion with 28, Steve Nash with 26, James Jones with 22 and Boris Diaw with 12.

"Tiring," Nash said. "This was tiring."

With 35 seconds left, Nash fouled out for the first time since 1999-00. Ten seconds later, Bell fouled Andre Miller, who sank both free throws for a 137-135 lead.

House hit a jumper with 12 seconds left, tying it at 137 and setting up Anthony's game-winner, his second straight.

"Shawn Marion overplayed it, he reached, and once I saw that, I knew I had a clear shot at the basket once I got my feet set," Anthony said. "I wanted to win, even before I got my face smacked. Then I got energy from that, even though Eddie did it."

Anthony, who also was the hero in the Nuggets' 92-90 win at Houston on Saturday night, scored with 2:30 left in the third overtime to give the Nuggets a 131-129 lead, but he was inadvertently kicked in the face by Najera. He stayed down for a minute and when he got up, there was a small pool of blood on the floor.

"I didn't get hit in my nose, more around my eye, and across the bridge of my nose," Anthony said. "I didn't feel it in my nose, I felt it in my forehead."

But he never thought about calling it a night.

"You are just going on adrenaline," he said.

Miller made two poor decisions in the closing seconds of the second overtime. First, he inexplicably inbounded to Earl Watson beyond the arc with 1 second on the shot clock and Najera open underneath for a tip-in with the Nuggets trailing 125-123.

After Najera's steal of Nash led to a fast-break basket by Boykins, Miller rebounded Bell's errant 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left. Instead of calling the Nuggets' final timeout, he lofted a desperation shot from three-quarters quart as Karl threw his arms up in disbelief.

Boykins scored nine points in the first overtime, but with the score tied at 117, he missed a 12-footer at the buzzer that would have won it.

Marion missed a 10-footer that would have won the game for the Suns in regulation.

"I couldn't have asked for a better shot," Marion said. "A 10-footer. I should have knocked that one in."

Denver didn't really feel the absence of Kenyon Martin (back), their top rebounder with Marcus Camby (finger) out until the closing minutes of regulation, when the Suns got three straight offensive rebounds while clinging to a 104-103 lead. Finally, Kurt Thomas fouled Watson while grabbing a fourth consecutive offensive board. Watson sank one of two shots to tie it at 104.

"We had the opportunity to win that game two or three times if we got more rebounds," Karl said. "I don't know if we're fatigued, small, the ball's bouncing the wrong way, we don't jump or we just want Marcus to be back and that's the way we're telling the basketball gods we need Marcus back."

Game notes

Denver G Greg Buckner sprained his right wrist. X-rays were negative. ... The Nuggets hadn't topped 130 since February 2000. ... The Suns' starters scored 111 points. ... Bell logged nearly 58 minutes. ... In a game like this, Karl said, "the biggest thing is to keep your bladder under control."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 137 139
FGM-FGA 50-104 (.481) 51-104 (.490)
3PM-3PA 14-35 (.400) 8-17 (.471)
FTM-FTA 23-27 (.852) 29-36 (.806)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-41 12-46
Assists 36 27
Turnovers 17 17
Steals 6 7
Blocks 4 5
Fast Break Points 18 25
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (0/0) 26 (1/0)
Largest Lead 9 7

Top Performers

Shawn Marion Marion
Points: 28
Reb: 14
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 1
Carmelo Anthony Anthony
Points: 43
Reb: 11
Ast: 1
Stl: 3
Blk: 2