Anthony plays like All-Star as Nuggets top PacersFeb 10, 2007 - 5:42 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- After finally being named to the All-Star team, Carmelo Anthony celebrated at the expense of the Indiana Pacers.
In an emotional contest, Anthony scored 34 points and Eduardo Najera added 18 and nine rebounds as the Denver Nuggets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 102-95 victory over the Pacers.
Linas Kleiza added 15 points for the Nuggets, who played without superstar Allen Iverson. Nursing a sprained right ankle, the four-time scoring champion returned to the lineup Wednesday but re-injured the ankle late in a overtime loss to New Orleans.
"We have fought through a lot," Denver coach George Karl said. "We've had a lot of injuries. Sometimes, you over react in the NBA. We are still in a good place. It was a big win, and hopefully, we'll get another one on the road."
Undoubtedly hurt by a 15-game suspension for his role in a brawl earlier this season, Anthony was left off the All-Star squad when the reserves were announced last week. The NBA's leading scorer at 30.8 points per game entering the contest, the superstar forward was named as an injury replacement on Friday afternoon.
Hours later, he played like an All-Star, shooting 11-of-24 from the field and 12-of-13 from the line. Without Iverson to break down the defense, Denver continually fed Anthony, who drove to the basket defiantly all night.
"It's just good to get over the hump and finally pull out a win," Anthony said. "It was a physical game. It seems like every time we play Indiana, it's really physical out there. Lately, with our struggles, we haven't been having too much fun, so I told my teammates before the game that we wanted to have fun out there, and I thought we did tonight."
Anthony's strong play even frustrated Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, who was ejected with 6:28 left in the third quarter. The veteran coach picked up two technicals arguing a foul called on forward Troy Murphy, who hacked Anthony on his way to the hoop.
"I disagreed with the call," Carlisle said. "I figured I'd get one tech. I didn't think I'd get a second one, but I did. We've got to put this behind us and get ready for the next one."
Reserve guard Darrell Armstrong also was sent to the locker room after a fourth-quarter tirade directed at the officials. Upset at numerous calls, Armstong booted a chair on his way off the floor.
"Probably (because) he didn't respect the way I was trying to talk to him," Armstrong said about his exchange with official Eli Roe. "If I was yelling and cussing, then I understand him giving me a (technical), but I was talking to him like a man.
"I think this team - the way games are called - we get (bleeped) every night," Armstrong said. "I'm going to be honest, we get (bleeped) every night, and the referees are calling our games like we are the brawl team from two years ago. We're not the brawl team, we're the team that's playing in the 2006-2007 season."
Returning to the lineup after missing one game with a left knee injury, All-Star Jermaine O'Neal agreed with Armstong.
"Sometimes it seems like it's one-sided," O'Neal said. "We never get the benefit of the whistle. Everything that is being called is being called against us. It feels like, especially the last two years, that we're being punished a little bit.
"It does feel that way. They shot 30 more free throws than we did, and I don't understand that. How can a team shoot 30 more free throws than the other team? It's almost like we weren't out there."
O'Neal scored 16 points for Indiana, which shot 43 percent (38-of-89).
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