for this game

Nuggets win third straight, top Bobcats

Nov 12, 2008 - 4:57 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Carmelo Anthony scored 14 of his 25 points in the decisive third quarter to lead the shorthanded Denver Nuggets to an 88-80 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday.

Denver dressed just nine players and was without Chris Andersen, Steven Hunter and Kenyon Martin.

"It was gutty and a little ugly," Denver coach George Karl said. "We've transformed from an offensive team to a defensive team. When you're so shorthanded, it's probably the way you win most of those games. I wish we were a little better offensively, but there are a lot of games this year where we've gotten stronger, especially because of our defense."

The Nuggets are 3-0 since acquiring Chauncey Billups from Detroit on November 3. Anthony appears to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of his team's new addition, averaging 26.3 points since the trade.

Billups added 16 points and five assists, but it was the sixth-year forward out of Syracuse that carried the Nuggets.

Anthony took control midway through the third quarter with Denver down, 50-48. He scored 12 straight points, including the go-ahead basket with 8:18 to play.

"In the first half they were getting whatever they wanted," Anthony said. "We knew we were going to have to play small tonight and everyone had to come together and play defense. I think we came out with some spark in that third quarter."

Denver held the Bobcats to 34.2 percent shooting in the second half and limited their starters to four free-throw attempts in the second half.

Gerald Wallace pulled the Bobcats within 60-59, as he scored five straight points for Charlotte, but Denver responded again.

Anthony's final points of the quarter capped off an 8-0 run as Denver took a nine-point lead into the final period.

Jason Richardson scored six points as part of an 8-0 run for Charlotte that cut the deficit to 75-73, but the Bobcats never were able to get closer. A dunk by Nene ended the run and shut the door on Charlotte's comeback.

"If you're going to be a good team in this league you're going to have to win ugly games sometimes," Billups said. "You've got to win when you've got guys out. It's not pretty all the time. It's not fun all the time, but you have to be successful on these kind of nights."

The Bobcats led for all of the first half before the Nuggets' offense was able to shift into gear. A driving layup from Wallace put the Bobcats ahead, 32-22 - their largest lead of the game - with 7:36 to play in the first half.

"We should have been up 25 in the first half we had so many open shots," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. "But all of our open shots are jump shots. The reality is we've got to figure out how to get to the free-throw line and get easy baskets."

Charlotte once again received limited production from its starters as just Richardson and Wallace scored in double figures. The other three starters combined for just 17 points, but the Bobcats received a boost off the bench from Adam Morrison's 16 points.

"We got really stagnant in the second half," Morrison said. "We shot a lot of 3-pointers and weren't moving the ball. That's when they made their separation and that's what ended up costing us the game."

The Nuggets got a big lift from Renaldo Balkman's 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench in addition to 10 and six assists from Anthony Carter.

"I wanted to come out and be aggressive," Balkman said. "My goal is to play hard and go out and give it my all every single game. Tonight was just one of those games."