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Carmelo's hoop with 5.3 left lifts Nuggets past Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Carmelo Anthony has made himself right at home in Oklahoma City.

For the second time in two trips to Oklahoma City, Anthony made the winning shot, this time a driving runner in the lane with 5.3 seconds left that gave the Nuggets a 114-113 victory Wednesday night.

"I got to be honest, I didn't think I would make it," Anthony admitted. "There was a bunch of people on me, but it went in. I'll take it."

Just like he took it when the Nuggets topped the Thunder on Jan. 2 when his 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Denver a 122-120 win. Anthony finished with 32 points and also had 11 assists. In the January game, he had 31 points.

This time, though, the winning shot came with some drama. After Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant made the go-ahead basket with 17.2 seconds left, Denver called a timeout.

The Nuggets inbounded the ball to Anthony, who appeared to tip it to himself into the back court. There was no violation called and veteran referee Dick Bavetta explained that there was no possession, so no there was no turnover.

"In the last 2 minutes of the game, the team with possession of the ball can pass the ball into the back court," Bavetta said. "If a ball is not in positive possession of an offensive player in the front court who then takes it in the back court, it is not considered a back-court violation."

"I've never seen that play called," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "I'm not sure. He is one of the best officials. I guess that's just part of it."

From there, Anthony willed himself toward the basket and made the winner with three Oklahoma City defenders on him.

"We have to put the blame on ourselves," Oklahoma City forward Nick Collison said. "We didn't get enough stops. We let the game slip away in the third quarter. The good teams get stops late in games."

Durant finished with 31 points and eight rebounds.

J.R. Smith had 22 points, Nene had 20 and Chris Andersen finished with 12 to help the Nuggets improve to 32-16.

The Thunder got 24 points from Jeff Green and 20 from Russell Westbrook, but dropped their third game in a row.

Meanwhile, Anthony's heroics came during a game where the Nuggets were playing with a depleted roster. Guard Chauncey Billups didn't suit up, due to a sprained right ankle. Forward Kenyon Martin missed the game with strep throat.

No matter, for Anthony, though. He said he enjoys playing in Oklahoma City.

"I love it here," Anthony said of playing in Oklahoma City. This is a great city with great people."

Denver rallied from a 17-point first half deficit where they gave up 70 points to Oklahoma City.

Game notes
It was mini-reunion homecoming for Nuggets players J.R. Smith and Chris Andersen. The two played for the Hornets during the 2005-06 season when the team played in Oklahoma City. Andersen fouled out with 3:13 left and had 12 points and seven rebounds. ... Oklahoma City's Earl Watson had 12 points. He is averaging six points this season. ... The Thunder dropped their third game in a row and are 2-15 in games decided by six points or less.