for this game

Anthony, Smith help Nuggets cruise past Clippers

Nov 27, 2006 - 4:01 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets have made their slow start to the season a distant memory.

Anthony scored 33 points and J.R. Smith added 23 as the streaking Nuggets posted a 103-88 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Joe Smith had 15 points and Andre Miller added 14 and 10 assists for Denver, which won its fifth straight game and has won eight of nine since starting the season 0-3.

"We've won eight of our last nine, so we're definitely confident," Smith said. "We have to protect this home and we've got to go win on the road, too."

Anthony, who entered the night with a slight edge over Philadelphia's Allen Iverson for the NBA scoring lead, shot 12-of-25 from the field and added six assists for the Nuggets, who came into the game as the NBA's highest scoring team at 111.2 points.

"It's a statement game, we just wanted to let people know that we're still here regardless of the first couple games of the season," Anthony said. "We're going to be all right. I'm just having fun with the game. I'm just confident right now with about what the team is doing."

Smith scored 14 points in the third quarter, when the Nuggets outscored the Clippers, 35-21. With Denver leading 59-53 after halftime, the third-year guard had two dunks and hit six consecutive free throws to help the Nuggets extend to a 77-60 lead with 3:57 left in the period.

"I love the flow of the offense, I love the team," Smith said. "Whenever I am open, my teammates always seem to get me the ball. That's a great thing and they get it back when I get the ball."

"Our long shots turned into layups and dunks on the other end," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We just didn't play smart enough. We didn't make shots. We didn't do a good job moving the basketball and taking of advantage of the opportunities that we had. We just didn't stay disciplined enough in order to beat a team like Denver who can put points on the board."

Denver shot 52 percent (41-of-79) from the field in handing Los Angeles its fourth straight loss.

The Nuggets, who lost to the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs last season, had a chip on their shoulder facing Los Angeles again.

"I think there was a little anger in our team," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I said a couple of times in the huddle, 'We owe this team.'"

Corey Maggette scored 22 points and hauled in 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who shot 36 percent (32-of-88) in falling to 0-5 on the road this season.

"We have got to get back home and start playing well again," Clippers forward Elton Brand said. "We lost a string (of games) last season on the road and we bounced back from it. And that's all, we just need to bounce back."

"It was a rough one," Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley added. "It's tough, but we've got to get through it. I hate to say this, but right now things aren't going right for us. We've got to just keep fighting and things will turn your way. We've got to be positive about it."

Los Angeles was without center Chris Kaman, who was deactivated Saturday because of a sprained left ankle suffered in practice Friday.

"Tonight our game plan was to get up and down the court and beat them on the inside with Chris Kaman out," Anthony said. "If not our best defensive effort, it was our second best."

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