NBA Game Summary - Miami at Denver
(Wednesday, January 7th)
Final Score: Denver 108, Miami 97
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Linas Kleiza stepped up in Carmelo Anthony's absence and was one of three Nuggets to record 21 points, as Denver got by Miami, 108-97, at the Pepsi Center.
Kleiza, who started in place of Anthony, also logged seven rebounds while J.R. Smith sparked the Nuggets down the stretch with two key baskets, part of his 21-point effort.
Chauncey Billups completed the 21-point scoring trifecta while also dishing out six assists for Denver, which played for the first time without its star forward in Anthony, who is expected to miss 3-to-4 weeks after suffering a nondisplaced third metacarpal fracture on his right hand in Monday's triumph over Indiana.
The Nuggets improved to 3-0 in the midst of a season-long, seven-game homestand and won their fifth straight game overall. Kenyon Martin and Nene provided 14 points each, with the former logging eight rebounds and the latter six in the win.
Dwyane Wade netted a game-high 31 points and Shawn Marion posted 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat, who are headed in the opposite direction as Denver in both respects -- losing for the fourth time in six games in kicking off a a season-long, seven-game road swing.
Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers both chipped in 12 points with Chalmers adding seven assists.
Miami opened the fourth down 11 but a 10-2 run to start the frame turned up the heat on Denver. The Nuggets, though, responded with a 7-2 spurt to stretch the lead to eight with 5:46 left.
Wade made a bank shot with 3 1/2 minutes to go, pulling the Heat within six, 96-90, and the teams traded three-pointers with Smith and Marion hitting from long range.
Billups followed with a steal and pushed ahead to Smith for a fast-break bucket that put Denver back up by eight with 2:15 left, and the Nuggets were unchallenged down the stretch.
Denver held a 27-21 lead after 12 minutes and upped its advantage to 11, 59-48, at the break behind Kleiza's 15 first-half points.
Both teams went back-and-forth in the third, and the Nuggets were able to keep their lead at 11, 83-72, entering the fourth.
The Nuggets have won seven straight over the Heat since a 107-100 loss in Miami, December 17, 2004...Denver has also won seven straight over Miami at the Pepsi Center...ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale called his first NBA game in 24 years for the aforementioned network...Denver improved to 14-4 at the Pepsi Center this season...Chris Andersen provided seven boards and six points off the bench for the Nuggets...Miami's Udonis Haslem had 10 points and six rebounds...Miami is now 6-10 on the road and will visit Sacramento, the LA Lakers, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Houston and Oklahoma City on the trek...Denver goes on to host Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix and Orlando on the homestand...The Nuggets pulled off a trade with the Thunder earlier Wednesday, acquiring center Johan Petro and a 2009 second-round draft pick from Oklahoma City in exchange for guard Chucky Atkins, a conditional 2009 first-round draft pick and cash considerations.
01/08 02:51:31 ET