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Nuggets hand Cleveland historic loss

Jan 29, 2011 - 6:34 AM Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points and the Denver Nuggets cruised to a 117-103 victory over Cleveland on Friday, handing the Cavaliers an historic team loss.

Arron Afflalo added 23 points and Ty Lawson scored 15 off the bench for the Nuggets, who improved to 3-0 on a five-game road trip while winning their fourth straight game overall.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, were dealt their 19th consecutive loss -- tying the single-season franchise record for futility set in 1981-82.

J.J. Hickson scored 24 points with 14 rebounds and Antawn Jamison had 20 points and 12 boards to lead Cleveland, which has dropped 29 of its last 30 games overall -- including a pair to Denver.

Two weeks ago, the Nuggets scored 80 first-half points against the Cavaliers in a 127-99 victory in Denver.

Though it wasn't as bad, the Nuggets exploded for another huge first-half in this one, taking a 70-50 lead into the locker room.

"We were on our heels the whole night," said Cleveland head coach Byron Scott.

Cleveland avoided being blown out with a strong second half and was down 93-83 after the third quarter.

The Cavs were trying to rally down the stretch, getting as close as six points several times in the forth quarter, but Denver kept its head above water.

During one key stretch, Anthony scored four straight Denver points, Lawson got two on a slashing drive and Chauncey Billups buried a three-pointer to make it 111-99 inside four minutes.

The Cavs were never closer than eight the rest of the way. That they showed any fight at all was eye-opening considering the dubious decades-old record they were trying to avoid matching.

The 1981-82 Cavaliers lost the final 19 games of the season. The team went on to drop its first five games the following season for an NBA-record 24-game skid.

"Another disappointing game as far as I'm concerned, just not being able to put together a 48-minute game," said Scott. "Just a lack of focus. You can't have that against a team like that."

Anthony and Afflalo both scored 16 in the first half and the Nuggets shot 54 percent for their 20-point lead.

"We just wanted to come out and move the ball and a couple guys got it going early," said Anthony. "Everybody felt like they were part of the game."

Afflalo buried a three-pointer to start the game and Denver led the rest of the way. After the Nuggets opened up an 11-2 lead, Cleveland stayed close and trailed 31-24 at the buzzer.

But the Nuggets took control in the second quarter, ending it with an 11-3 burst capped by J.R. Smith's three-pointer in the final seconds.

Game Notes

The NBA record for consecutive losses in one season is 23...Cleveland's only victory in its last 30 games came against the New York Knicks on December 18...Starting Nuggets center Nene (right calf) missed the second half for precautionary reasons...Billups had 11 points and Smith scored 10 for Denver...Daniel Gibson scored 15 for Cleveland, Ramon Sessions had 14 points and 13 assists and Joey Graham scored 14 off the bench.