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Anthony helps Nuggets win seventh game in eight tries

Dec 2, 2006 - 3:29 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves were the latest victims in the evolution of Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony scored 35 points to lead all five starters in double figures as the Denver Nuggets cruised to a 106-92 victory over the Timberwolves, who dropped their third straight game.

Anthony entered averaging 31.5 points per game, trailing Philadelphia superstar Allen Iverson by two-tenths of a point for tops in the league. He eclipsed the 30-point plateau for the 11th time in his last 12 games and overtook Iverson for the scoring lead.

"You are seeing one of the best offensive players I've ever coached," Denver coach George Karl said. "The game is so easy for him in so many different places.

"When he gets ahead of the defense, he and Andre (Miller) have such a communication ability. With his post-up game and how he is passing, it's a tough call for the opposing coach. Do you double-team or not?"

The 22-year-old Anthony connected on 14-of-24 shots and made all five free throws. He added eight rebounds and three steals.

"I'm just playing well right now. Andre is doing a good job finding me and I'm starting to find a rhythm," Anthony said. "It's not like I'm going out there to try to shoot every shot; I am getting them involved, too. As long as I keep them happy, it's all right."

"He's actually not shooting the ball as well as he did last year, but in time he is going to be a great shooter," Karl added. "If he adds the three-ball, we'll be able to play him anywhere on the court."

Denver pushed its advantage to 72-61 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter when Miller found Anthony for a one-handed jam.

"Carmelo is playing unbelievable right now," said Nuggets forward Eduardo Najera, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds. "Not only is he getting the points, he's making everybody around him a lot better."

Miller had 17 points and nine assists and J.R. Smith scored 15 points for the Nuggets, who shot 45 percent (43-of-98) from the field and won for the seventh time in its last eight games.

Perennial All-Star Kevin Garnett recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds and Ricky Davis also scored 21 points for Minnesota, which shot 44 percent (38-of-86) and committed 18 turnovers.

"It's disappointing. To come home and play a division leader and not have the energy and focus is disappointing," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "And all the players are disappointed and they should be. And once you get in a rut, you keep trying to get out and you can't."

The Timberwolves trailed almost the entire way but closed within 28-25 on Marko Jaric's half-court basket off the glass as time expired to end the first period.

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