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NBA Game Summary - New Orleans at Denver

(Thursday, March 18th)

Final Score: Denver 93, New Orleans 80

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and pulled down a career-best 18 rebounds as Denver gained a big halftime lead and topped New Orleans, 93-80, to climb up a notch in the Western Conference.

"I was going for 20 (rebounds). That was my goal," Anthony said. "I knew we were going to need it."

Nene added 20 points and J.R. Smith 17 for Denver, which took a half-game lead over Dallas for the No. 2 seed in the West. The Nuggets, who won for the eighth time in nine games, won their seventh in a row at home and moved to 30-5 this season at the Pepsi Center.

Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton each scored 15 for the Hornets, who are likely not to make the playoffs. They're now 8 1/2 games behind eighth-place Portland with Houston and Memphis in between.

"I don't think we've ever been talking about whether or not we can get into the playoffs," West said. "We've just been trying to find a level of competitiveness to go out and play these games."

Collison made a pair of free throws for an 8-4 New Orleans lead, but that was the largest advantage of the night for the visitors, who were dominated over the next 21 minutes.

The Nuggets scored the ensuing seven points and widened the margin to 27-17 after the opening quarter. The hosts scored the final eight of the period then used a big spurt in the second to take command.

Thornton's layup cut the margin to 37-28 with 7:14 left in the half, but the Nuggets scored the next 13, capped by a Chauncey Billups layup for a 22-point cushion inside four minutes. It was 62-37 at the half.

The double-digit margin remained throughout the third with Denver holding a 77-61 difference going to the fourth. New Orleans was within 81-72 following a layup from Darius Songaila with 5 1/2 minutes remaining, but Denver put the game away by scoring the next eight points, finished by an Anthony jumper.

Game Notes

Denver coach George Karl missed his sixth game since announcing a month ago that he's been diagnosed with throat and neck cancer...Denver won the season series, 3-1...New Orleans is a dismal 8-16 since losing All-Star point guard Chris Paul to a knee injury...Chris Andersen had 13 rebounds for Denver...Emeka Okafor scored 11 and had 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which received 14 and 13 points, respectively, from David West and Songaila.

03/19 02:06:49 ET

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