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Nuggets defeat Wizards without suspended Anthony

Dec 19, 2006 - 7:06 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Earl Boykins, Andre Miller and Marcus Camby rallied the Denver Nuggets after the loss of their top scorer.

Boykins scored a season-high 29 points off the bench, Miller added 27 and Camby 25 with 17 rebounds to lead the Nuggets to a 117-108 victory over the Washington Wizards.

The Nuggets were forced to play without league-leading scorer Carmelo Anthony (31.8), who was hit with a 15-game suspension by Commissioner David Stern for his part in Saturday's altercation against the New York Knicks.

J.R. Smith was penalized 10 games and Nene served a one-game suspension for leaving the bench during the brawl. The team also was fined $500,000.

"I think you saw a team that played with a lot of heart tonight," Denver coach George Karl said. "I'm really proud of what they did. It wasn't pretty in the second half, but to do what we did in the first half ... showed our team that no matter what happens, we are gonna play with a pride and an attitude."

"We're missing 50 points with J.R. and Carmelo," Camby said. "I think guys did a pretty good job at that, but not just offensively. We came out with a great defensive mind-set and executed, and we got everybody involved."

Denver took a 36-16 lead after the first quarter before Miller scored nine points in the second and Camby finished the half with 12 rebounds to help give the Nuggets a 65-43 bulge at the break.

"We knew they played last night and that's a team that can put up a lot of points," Miller said. "I think it was our defense early that got us going and opened up the court for some easy layups and guys to knock down some shots."

"When 'Melo is here, they play iso basketball," Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas said. "As soon as he's out of the game, they run. So we knew they were gonna come out and play that type of game. I told coach Karl, 'Every time I watch you, you guys play better without him. The ball moves and everybody goes.'"

Caron Butler scored 11 points and DeShawn Stevenson added 10 in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer and a three-point play in the final 47 seconds, to help the Wizards cut the deficit to 83-73.

"In the second half, we started making a run," Stevenson said. "We started making our threes and hitting our jumpers. I knew we would come back just by the way they played. You got a team that pushes the ball and takes open shots, which allows you to get back in the game. That's just the way they play."

Yakhouba Diawara dunked to give Denver a 92-82 lead before the Wizards went on a 9-1 run. Arenas hit a pair of baskets, Antawn Jamison hit a layup and Jarvis Hayes nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 93-91 with 5:53 to play.

"I knew we were gonna come back, but I didn't know it was gonna be a two-point game," Stevenson said. "I thought it would be like 10 or 15, but it was a two-point game. And then they just took over with rebounds and free throws."

The Nuggets responded with an 11-2 spurt to provide some breathing room. Boykins hit a 3-pointer and two free throws, Miller scored four points and Camby added a running jumper for a 104-93 advantage with 3:06 to play.

Camby blocked seven shots and Linas Kleiza scored 10 points for Denver, which made 33 of 44 free throws.

After setting a franchise record with 60 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, Arenas made just 10-of-30 shots and scored 23. Butler had 26 with 10 rebounds and Jamison added 21 points for Washington.

"I feel (Arenas) is one of the best scorers we have in this league," Camby said. "I think our zone affected him a little bit. He wasn't able to get into a lot of gaps and once he got into the hole, I was there protecting it."

The loss kept Washington from setting a season high with a four-game winning streak. After dropping their first eight road contests, the Wizards fell to 3-9 on the road.

"We knew that they would be emotionally charged, and we would have been emotionally spent to a certain degree, but we were prepared for that," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "At the same time, they were just quicker with their drives. We couldn't stay in front of drives in the first quarter."

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