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Anthony pours in 38, Nuggets roll past Pacers

Dec 3, 2006 - 5:06 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Carmelo Anthony is realizing his greatness, and it has been a pleasure for the Denver Nuggets to witness it.

Anthony scored 24 of his season-high 38 points in the first half as the Nuggets rolled to their eighth win in nine games, a 121-101 rout of the Indiana Pacers.

J.R. Smith scored 19 points and Earl Boykins added 15 for Denver (10-5), which also has won 10 of 12 since an 0-3 start.

"People started to count us out early," Smith said. "I think we are proving that we belong here, we are going to fight until the end and keep playing hard basketball."

A 6-8, 230-pound forward reaching for superstardom, Anthony has scored 30 or more points in 12 of his last 13 games. The 22-year-old shot 14-of-25 from the field.

"He (Anthony) was great," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Carmelo gets better every time I see him. He's got a great disposition on the court. He's a brutal matchup for any team because he can play three, he can play four and he can two. I don't hesitate to say he's a great player."

"We have to keep playing fast, pushing the ball, get the ball in Carmelo's hands and let him decide our destiny for us," Smith said.

Anthony scored 14 points in the first period, 10 in the second and 12 in the third, when he got some help from Smith as Denver put the game out of reach.

The Nuggets held an 80-71 lead midway through the period when Smith scored 11 of their next 13 points - including three 3-pointers - to make it 93-75 with 3 1/2 minutes left.

Marcus Camby had 10 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks for the Nuggets, who have won five straight meetings with the Pacers.

"I think we've gotten better," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "The mentality of our offense is to open the middle up. Our spacing is about 100 percent better than last year. Defensively we have those games where we force a lot of turnovers. Our offense comes from our defense, which makes us better."

Jamaal Tinsley scored 25 points and Jermaine O'Neal added 20 for Indiana, which shot 46 percent (39-of-85) and fell to 2-3 on its road trip.

"They just came in and outplayed us," Tinsley said. "They played the tempo they wanted to play at and made shots. We had a lot of turnovers and they just outplayed us on both ends of the court."

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