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Nuggets 120, Jazz 119, OT

DENVER -- So, what did coach George Karl think when the Denver Nuggets' exhibition game against Utah went into overtime Wednesday night?

"I think I wanted to strangle Ruben Patterson," Karl deadpanned.

The Nuggets pulled out a 120-119 win but they weren't happy they had to sit through the extra period after Patterson's technical foul helped send the game into overtime.

"We did a lot of things that had a little bit of insanity to them," Karl said, citing a lack of rebounding, poor shot selection, cheating out on the perimeter for fast breaks.

But Patterson's T was big.

Overtime is a dirty word in the preseason, suggested Carmelo Anthony.

"Yes, it is. It's terrible. I was joking with George, telling him put me back in with eight seconds left on the regular clock, in regulation," said Anthony, who didn't play after the third quarter. "But we pulled it out."

Denver led 107-106 with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Patterson, apparently still smarting from his sixth foul earlier in the quarter, was whistled for a technical for saying something to the officials from the Nuggets bench.

Morris Almond sank the free throw, and the teams exchanged more free throws until it was tied at 109 after regulation following J.R. Smith's ill-advised 3-point airball.

Smith missed a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left in overtime and the Nuggets clinging to a 118-116 lead, but C.J. Miles ran into Linas Kleiza and turned the ball over at the other end.

Kleiza sank two free throws with 3.5 seconds left for a four-point lead, rendering incidental rookie Kosa Koufos' 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left.

Smith and Kleiza each finished with 19 points but were criticized by Karl for wanting to cheat out on the fast break instead of focusing on rebounds that would have sealed the win earlier.

Deron Williams tuned up for his homecoming at Champaign, Ill., by scoring 22 points and collecting eight assists for Utah. Next up for the Jazz superstar is a trip to face the Chicago Bulls on Friday night at Assembly Hall on the Illini campus, where Williams is revered for leading the Illini to the 2005 NCAA championship game, where they lost to North Carolina.

"It's going to be fun, it's going to be exciting," Williams said.

Despite five turnovers, Williams looked ready for the regular season, sinking eight of 11 shots from the floor and all six of his free throws. His three-point play gave the Jazz an 88-83 lead heading into the fourth quarter, where Denver's subs fought back to send the game into overtime.

Anthony, who sat out Denver's first two exhibition games with a bruised ring finger on his non-shooting hand and is dealing with sore calves, pledged after winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics that he would turn up his defense this year, and he made good on his promise in his first action of the preseason.

'Melo had three steals in the first quarter, including one right before the buzzer, when he fired up a halfcourt shot that rimmed out, and setting the tone on a night the Nuggets collected 17 steals and forced 26 turnovers.

"Hopefully, it's a good sign," Anthony said.

It's an ominous one for the Jazz, coach Jerry Sloan fears.

"The offense was a little bit disjointed. It looked like mashed potatoes all over," Sloan said. "We had way too many turnovers. Bottom line, we weren't very good defensively. That's what's frightening to us."

Anthony finished with 16 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes, his first game action since the Americans beat Spain in the gold medal game in China.

'Melo and Kenyon Martin (16 points) were the only Denver starters who actually started because of a rash of injuries, and Martin was manning the post because the Nuggets were out of big men.

Nene banged his right elbow in practice Tuesday and sat out along with Steven Hunter (knee) and Chris Anderson (calf). Also, Allen Iverson sat out a second straight game with a sore left knee.

Utah was missing starter Matt Harpring and late in the second quarter lost Miles with a cut over his right eye that required six stitches. He re-entered in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and finished with 13 points in his first action at point guard since high school.

He thought he did OK except for his slip at the end of overtime when he clipped Kleiza's ankle while trying to turn the corner and drive to the basket

Williams liked what he saw from Miles.

"I thought he played pretty well for being thrown into the fire," Williams said. "He got people involved. He made some shots. I thought he got fouled on that last drive. I thought he got tripped."

Game notes
The Nuggets play their final four exhibitions on the road. ... The Jazz play their next two against the Bulls.