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Seeking to change things up, D'Antoni tinkered with his starting lineup. He benched Al Harrington, who was averaging 22.9 points in 15 games since the Knicks acquired him from Golden State in November, and gave Jared Jeffries, a better defender with poor offensive instincts, his first start of the season.
The move did little to solve New York's defensive woes. The game was tied at 43 midway through the second quarter before Denver began getting to the basket at will.
Lee slapped the backboard stanchion in frustration after one blown defensive sequence led to Nene's dunk, but that failed to provide a spark -- Denver scored on Anthony's slam on its next time down the floor to cap a 16-4 spurt and open a 59-47 lead with 2:03 left in the half.
The Nuggets led 66-56 at the break, with 42 points in the paint.
New York shot 60 percent in the third quarter, charging back to grab an 89-88 lead on Robinson's 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining, about the time a disgusted Kenyon Martin began cursing from the Nuggets' bench about letting the Knicks hang around.
Smith threw in a long 3-pointer as time expired to give Denver a 93-89 lead entering the final quarter.
Notes: Denver's Renaldo Balkman received respectful applause when he entered in the first quarter. He was a surprising first-round pick by the Knicks in 2006 who became somewhat of a fan favorite for his energetic play before being dealt to the Nuggets last summer. He finished with nine points. ... Quentin Richardson came off the bench for the Knicks after missing Friday's loss to Minnesota with a sprained right ankle.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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