MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Heat tried fouling from beyond the
3-point line, and even then they failed to stop the Denver Nuggets.
Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points and Denver twice converted
four-point plays to beat the Heat 112-105 Tuesday night.
The Nuggets' point total was a season high, and they outscored
Miami 54-36 in the paint.
"We can't stop anybody right now," Heat coach Pat Riley said.
The defending NBA champions fell to 3-4 with their second
consecutive loss, both at home.
Anthony lost his scoring duel with fellow 2003 draft pick Dwyane
Wade, who had 37 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. But the
Nuggets reached .500 by winning their third in a row after an 0-3
"A week ago the media had us buried," coach George Karl said.
"Now we're good."
The Heat were again without Shaquille O'Neal because of a
hyperextended left knee, his second injury to the knee this season.
His status is day to day.
"If he wants to stay in Miami when they come to Denver in
December, that would be good," Karl said.
Miami is also without starting guard Jason Williams, still
recovering from offseason knee surgery. He might return Friday.
"Right now we have to almost be perfect to win," Riley said.
Thanks to fouls on Gary Payton, the Nuggets converted a pair of
four-point plays in the second quarter. J.R. Smith sank a
3-pointer, was fouled and made the free throw. Andre Miller was
fouled attempting a 3-pointer and made all three free throws, which
were coupled with another free throw when Payton drew a technical
for protesting the call.
Miller had a season-high 29 points, 10 assists and eight
rebounds for the Nuggets. They missed 21 of 27 3-pointers, but
Anthony did plenty of damage inside and shot 13-for-26.
"I get up for every game -- some games even a little more than
others," Anthony said with a smile. "It's always fun playing
against Dwyane and Miami, the champions."
An 11-0 run beginning late in the third quarter put the Nuggets
ahead to stay. Reggie Evans' basket made it 84-83, and Earl Boykins
made a 3-pointer -- his first basket after eight misses -- for an
Soon the margin was 95-85.
"It's that one dead spot for us," Wade said. "We had one bad
stretch, and they went up 10 points on us."
Miami cut a 12-point deficit in half in the final minutes with
consecutive 3-pointers by Wade and Antoine Walker. But the Nuggets
sank six successive free throws down the stretch.
"We played our best offense and best defense in the fourth
quarter," Karl said.
The Heat, who began the game last in the league in scoring,
missed 10 of their first 11 shots to fall behind 19-4. They rallied
and took their first lead at 25-24 on a 3-pointer by Walker.
Miami hit 3-pointers on its final three shots of the first half
-- two by Wade, one by James Posey -- to lead 52-48.
The Heat surge included back-to-back dunks. When the 5-foot-5
Boykins entered the game for Denver, 6-foot-8 Dorell Wright
immediately posted up on him for an easy alley-oop score. Udonis
Haslem caught an alley-oop pass on a fast break for another dunk on
the Heat's next possession.
But Miami faded at the finish and fell to 2-3 at home.
"We can't get them back," Haslem said. "They're gone now. We
have no excuse. We're not playing well, and we know it."
Nuggets F Nene, sidelined since Friday with a bruised knee,
was inactive. ... The Nuggets led at the start of the final period
for the first time this season.<
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