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Dynamic Duo: Anthony, Smith lift Denver past Pacers

DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony took a quick shower and slipped
out through a side exit, proving just how hard he is to stop on and
off the court.

Anthony finished with a season-high 38 points in the Denver
Nuggets' 121-101 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

So J.R. Smith became Anthony's unofficial spokesman.

"We've got to keep pushing the ball and getting the ball into
Melo's hands and let him decide our destiny for us," Smith said.

Good plan. This was Anthony's sixth straight game of 30 or more
points. It's the second time this season he's scored 30 or more in
six contests in a row, tying a franchise record he shares with
former Nuggets star and current Toronto assistant coach Alex
English.

"Anthony gets better every time I see him," Pacers coach Rick
Carlisle said. "He has size, quickness and the ability to go by
you. He's a great player."

And now he has a complement -- Smith, who finished with 19 points
and five 3-pointers. Anthony and Smith entered the game as the
league's leading scoring duo, averaging a combined 48.6 points.

"J.R.'s making shots helps us and his passing has improved to
the point where teams have a tough option (between Anthony and
Smith)," Denver coach George Karl said.

Karl was surprised by Anthony's scoring output.

"Melo had 38?" he said. "He could've had 50."

Jermaine O'Neal was a game-time decision due to a balky left
hamstring. O'Neal aggravated the hamstring in a 105-103 loss to
Seattle on Friday night. But O'Neal was in the starting lineup and
contributed 20 points. He also grabbed 16 rebounds.

Both teams played on the road the night before and didn't arrive
into Denver until early Saturday. The Pacers beat the Nuggets to
town despite playing in Seattle.

The Nuggets didn't get in from Minnesota until 4 a.m. due to an
equipment malfunction with the plane.

"We were tired at first, but we fought through it," said Andre
Miller, who had 10 assists.

Karl was getting back on a plane Sunday morning to see his son,
Coby, a senior guard at Boise State, play at Montana.

"I'll (watch him), have some dinner and come home," Karl said.

The Nuggets had a familiar face sit on the bench Saturday night
as Kenyon Martin, who's out for the season after undergoing
microfracture surgery on his right knee, paid the team a visit.

"It meant a lot," Smith said. "K-mart finally sat on the
bench with us. He started goofing around a little bit. He's a great
person to have around your team. It definitely made us play harder
for him."

Anthony, who entered the game as the league's top scorer, has
scored 30 or more in 12 of his last 13 games. The streak was
momentarily interrupted when he finished with 29 against Chicago on
Nov. 21.

Jamaal Tinsley led Indiana in scoring with 25 points. He also
had eight assists. Jeff Foster had 18 rebounds and Al Harrington
finished with 18 points as the Pacers dropped both games in
back-to-back road contests.

"They outbanged us and they outplayed us," Tinsley said.
"They played the tempo they wanted and made shots. They just
outplayed us."

The Nuggets reached into their ABA past and broke out Denver
Rockets uniforms, circa 1967-68, for retro night. The jerseys were
white with orange and black trim and the warmup suits were all
orange.

Anthony of today would've certainly fit in well with the
high-scoring ABA teams back then.

"He was great," Carlisle said.
^Notes:@ Nuggets forward Joe Smith missed his second straight game
with a sprained right ankle. F Nene was held out for the 11th game
in a row with a bruised right knee. ... Indiana C David Harrison
missed his 10th straight game with a sore left shoulder. Harrison
played down the road at the University of Colorado. ... Stephen
Jackson left the game in the third quarter with a sore right knee.
He didn't score in 26 minutes. ... Marcus Camby had 10 points and
15 rebounds.