for this game

Anthony, Nuggets deal Celtics first home loss

Nov 15, 2008 - 5:17 AM By MIke Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets showed resiliency on the road against the defending world champions on Friday.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points and 13 rebounds as the Nuggets handed the Boston Celtics their first home loss in six games on the famed parquet this season, posting a 94-85 victory at TD Banknorth Garden.

Newcomer Chauncey Billups added 18 points and Kenyon Martin scored 16 for Denver, which finished the game on a 10-1 run and won for the fourth time in five tries since acquiring the former NBA Finals MVP.

"We've got a lot of potential, and I'm looking forward to trying to put it together every night," Billups said. "Not just against the great teams but every night."

"Well, I'm not as much into the statement victory as I am into statement month," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I think the win tonight gives us the opportunity to continue getting a spirit of confidence to fight the whole season. The newness of each other, one big win is not enough to say you've turned the corner."

With the game tied at 84-84, Denver scored eight straight points, forcing Boston to call timeout in an attempt to quiet the rally. Anthony nailed a 3-pointer to make it 92-84 with 1:14 left and effectively seal the win.

Anthony and Karl both attributed the late burst to perseverance and some rare defensive intensity.

"We wanted to win the game," Anthony said. "Me personally, I'm not really worried about anything. As a team tonight, I think we did a great job on the defensive end."

"I think anytime you play the champions, you gotta play with kind of a tire-like intensity," Karl said. "They know how to volume up the game where they intimidate you with their intensity. You know, they had their moments, they had their runs momentum-wise, but I don't think we ever stopped being physical or being aggressive, and some of their great players made some great shots"

Ray Allen scored 26 points to lead Boston, which also saw its six-game winning streak come to an end. The Celtics suffered just their second loss in 10 games to start the season in defense of their NBA title, with their only other setback coming at the Indiana Pacers on November 1.

With his team playing its seventh game in 11 days, Boston coach Doc Rivers did not want to blame the defeat on the busy schedule.

"It's easy to say. I don't know," Rivers said. " ... We play tomorrow, so if it caught up with us today, tomorrow's going to be a long night, you know what I'm saying?

"So, no, I just think we have to get better. I have to get them in better spots offensively. Defensively, I thought we were good. Everything starts with our defense."

Allen single-handedly powered the Celtics in the opening quarter. He scored 18 of his team's 29 points while making 6-of-7 shots, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

The Celtics led by as many as eight in taking a 29-23 first-quarter lead.

The second quarter was a vastly different story as Denver outscored Boston, 25-7, to open the period and take a 48-36 advantage.

Anthony and Nene each scored six points in the quarter as Denver shot 53 percent and took a 48-42 lead to the locker room. Boston went ice cold, making just 5-of-18 shots from the floor as Allen was held scoreless after his big first quarter.

In addition, the Nuggets outplayed the Celtics in every facet of the game, including on the glass where they outrebounded them, 11-5.

"We just didn't execute what we had to," Boston forward Kevin Garnett said. "I wish I could give you all a specific reason. We didn't make shots when we needed to, we didn't get stops when we needed to. I felt like we fought in spurts but, for 48 minutes, we didn't put our whole game together. Effort was there. Energy was there. Just didn't get it done tonight."

After falling behind by 13 in the third, the Celtics went on a frantic run to reclaim the lead at the end of the quarter. Eddie House's 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining capped a 21-5 run to give Boston a 65-64 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But Denver responded to open the fourth.

Trailing, 70-67, the Nuggets scored the next 11 points to take a 78-70 lead when J.R. Smith drained a three with 7:33 remaining. Allen also nailed a 3-pointer with 4:17 to go to tie the game at 82-82 before the teams traded baskets to set the stage for the game's final spurt.

"I don't know if they realize it, but it's a huge win," Billups said. "This atmosphere is one of the best that you can play in. These are the kind of games where you learn a lot about your teammates, and how mentally tough and strong they are. Needless to say, I'm happy with the way this game turned out."