Saturday, November 15, 2008
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Melo, Billups lead Nuggets past Celtics 94-85

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[November 15, 2008]  BOSTON (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups had 18 points each and Kenyon Martin added 16 to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Boston Celtics 94-85 on Friday night.

InsuranceThe Nuggets, who have won only three times in their last 19 trips to Boston, survived an exciting final few minutes. After Boston's Kevin Garnett tied it at 84 with a tomahawk dunk, Martin answered with a shot in traffic to make it 86-84.

Coming out of a timeout, Kendrick Perkins lost the ball, and Billips converted a layup and free throw to put the Nuggets up 89-84. Garnett missed a shot on the ensuing trip down the floor, and Anthony hit a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets an eight point cushion, 92-84, with under 2 minutes to play.

The Nuggets opened up an eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter, largely behind the shooting of JR Smith. He scored eight early points in the quarter - including two 3-pointers - to give Denver a 78-70 lead. But the Celtics rallied, with 3-pointers by Ray Allen and Eddie House trimming the lead back to three, 82-79. Allen then tied it at 82 with a baseline 3-pointer.

Since acquiring Billups on Nov. 3 in a trade with the Pistons, the Nuggets are 4-1.

Nene had 14 points and Smith and Linas Kleiza each scored 10 for the Nuggets. Anthony had a game-high 13 rebounds.

The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Celtics (8-2). Allen led all scorers with 26 points. Paul Pierce had 19 points and Garnett added 16 for the Celtics, who lost at home for the first time this season.

After a first quarter in which Allen scored 18 points and they jumped out to a 29-23 lead, the Celtics struggled offensively. Boston scored 13 points in the second quarter, a season low, on 5-for-18 shooting. The Nuggets took advantage and used a 19-4 run to take a 48-36 lead, their largest of the half. The Celtics scored the final six points of the quarter to cut the deficit to six, 48-42.

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Funeral Director

After seeing their halftime lead cut to six, 48-42, the Nuggets used an 11-2 run to open up 15-point lead - their biggest of the game on a turnaround fade away by Billups.

But the Celtics closed out the third quarter on a 21-5 run paced by eight points by Pierce and took their first lead of the second half, 65-64, on a 3-pointer from House.

Notes:@ Nuggets forward Steven Hunter, who had been inactive for the team's first eight games, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Friday. He will be out a minimum of 12 weeks. ... The Celtics scored the first eight points of the game. ... The Celtics have started the same lineup in all 10 of their games. ... It was the Nuggets' first win when leading at halftime. They're 1-3 when leading at the break.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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