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Denver tops Indy

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and Chauncey Billups added 24 to help Denver beat the Indiana Pacers 111-93 on Tuesday night, lifting the Nuggets to their best start in 24 years.

Anthony, who was averaging 38 points, shot just 6-for-17 from the field but made 11 of 14 free throws. Nene added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets (4-0), who are off to their best start since the 1985-86 season.

Former Denver guard Dahntay Jones led the Pacers with 20 points, and Danny Granger added 18 for Indiana (0-3).

Pacers forward Troy Murphy bruised his lower back when he fell hard to the floor in the first quarter and did not return. He was second in the league in rebounding and third in 3-point percentage last season.

Celtics 105, 76ers 74

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Paul Pierce scored 21 points, Rasheed Wallace had 20 and the Boston Celtics remained unbeaten with a victory over the 76ers.

The Celtics improved to 5-0 even without the usual standout performances from Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Allen didn’t score his first field goal until the third quarter and had five points. Garnett made just one basket on seven shots and scored three points when he was yanked with the game out of hand.

Wallace was about the only Celtic who had his normal night, even getting whistled for a technical foul for arguing with the refs in the third quarter.

Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 17 points. Philadelphia missed 15 of 16 3-point attempts.

Cavaliers 102, Wizards 90

CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James scored 27 points, Shaquille O’Neal added a season-high 21 while wearing out Washington’s big men and the Cavaliers won their third straight, beating the Wizards.

The Cavs trailed by 18 in the second quarter before turning up their defense and relying on their superstar combo of James and O’Neal to win their sixth straight at home over the Wizards.

Mo Williams scored 15 and Daniel Gibson 14 for the Cavs, who made nine 3-pointers in the second half – four in the fourth quarter when James was out. Williams and Gibson were a combined 7-for-9 on 3s.

Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas scored 22 apiece to lead the Wizards.

Pistons 85, Magic 80

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Ben Gordon scored 23 points and Rodney Stuckey added 20 as the short-handed Pistons beat Orlando, handing the Magic their first loss of the season.

Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince saw his streak of 496 straight games played end as he was sidelined with a back injury. Prince last missed a game on April 13, 2003 – during his rookie season – against Memphis.

Prince will be sidelined for at least three games before his status is re-evaluated this weekend. Richard Hamilton (ankle) also sat out.

The Pistons also got 20 from third guard Will Bynum, while Vince Carter led Orlando with 15. Dwight Howard had just eight points and five rebounds in 17 minutes before fouling out.

Suns 104, Heat 96

MIAMI (AP) – Steve Nash scored 30 points and added eight assists, and the Suns used a dominant fourth quarter to beat the Heat in a matchup of NBA unbeatens.

Amare Stoudemire finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which overcame its largest deficit of the season and used a 13-4 run over the middle portion of the fourth to pull away. Jason Richardson scored 10 of his 14 points in the final period for the Suns, who are 4-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

Miami got 23 points from Dwyane Wade and 18 from Quentin Richardson. The Heat (3-1) were bidding for their first 4-0 start in five years, and only the second in the franchise’s 22-year history.

Mavericks 96, Jazz 85

DALLAS (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki scored a club-record 29 of his 40 points during a frantic fourth-quarter comeback and the Mavericks beat the Jazz.

Nowitzki broke the franchise record of 24 points in any quarter set by Mark Aguirre against Denver on March 24, 1984.

Dallas was down 72-56 after Utah’s Wes Matthews hit a layup with 9:51 left. The Mavericks then trailed by 13 before Nowitzki’s three-point play triggered a 19-6 run capped by his layup with 2:41 remaining to tie it at 83.

Nowitzki’s inside basket on Dallas’ next possession put the Mavericks in front for good, 85-83 with 2:05 left.

Deron Williams scored 22 points and Mehmet Okur added 14 points and 14 rebounds for Utah.

Lakers 101, Thunder 98, OT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Kobe Bryant scored 31 points and hit the go-ahead jumper in overtime as the Lakers got tested in their first road game of the season, beating the Thunder.

Bryant connected on a turnaround jumper from the left side with 2:29 to play to give the defending NBA champions a 99-97 lead and then hit two free throws with 18 seconds remaining to push the lead to three.

The Thunder had two chances to tie it late, but Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook each missed 3-pointers surrounding a pair of missed free throws by Lamar Odom.

Bryant grabbed the ball after Westbrook’s miss and tossed it toward the opposite end of the court to allow the final seconds to run off the clock.

Bulls 83, Bucks 81

CHICAGO (AP) – Luol Deng scored 24 points while grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds, and the Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Bucks.

The Bucks had a chance to win it after Joakim Noah missed two free throws, but Ersan Ilyasova missed a 3-pointer, the ball landing out of bounds with 1.8 seconds left.

Derrick Rose scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls rebounded from back-to-back losses with a wild win.

Brandon Jennings scored 25 points to lead Milwaukee.