MARK DUNCAN / AP Enlarge
CLEVELAND - Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points, All-Star sidekick Allen Iverson added 25 and the Denver Nuggets rolled to a 113-83 win last night over the listless and limping Cleveland Cavaliers.
Anthony didn't have to play in the fourth quarter and improved to 8-2 in his pro career against good friend LeBron James, who scored 30 points - in three quarters - but got little help from a Cleveland team missing four key players, including two starters.
Denver led by 11 points after one quarter, 18 at halftime and pushed its advantage to 26 by the end of the third. At the end of the period, James stormed off the court, took a seat at the far end of Cleveland's bench and didn't take part in coach Mike Brown's huddle before the fourth quarter began.
As he sat alone, Cavaliers guard Damon Jones yelled in James' direction. But Cleveland's superstar never acknowledged his teammate and stared straight ahead without saying a word.
James might be wondering when he might get some help like Anthony has or what Kobe Bryant now has with the Los Angeles Lakers or when Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry might pull off a trade.
James didn't play in the fourth quarter when the Cavs fell behind by 37 points.
Anthony, coming off a 49-point performance in a win against Washington, went 11-of-19 from the floor and added eight rebounds in 32 minutes. He, too, spent the fourth quarter on the sideline, savoring Denver's fifth straight win over Cleveland.
Iverson added 13 assists and Marcus Camby 17 rebounds for Denver.
The Cavaliers were again shorthanded as injuries continued to plague them.
Drew Gooden missed his third game in a row with a strained right groin and Daniel Gibson, the team's top long-range shooter, sat out his second straight because of a strained hamstring. On top of that, Cleveland didn't have forward Anderson Varejao (sprained ankle) or swingman Sasha Pavlovic (sprained foot).
Also, Jones went to the locker room in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was also forced to spend the final 12 minutes getting treatment for back spasms.
The Cavs, however, were hurting long before that.
Denver led 63-45 at halftime and quickly upped its lead to 23 after Iverson opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Kenyon Martin scored inside. James helped trim Denver's lead to 15, but Iverson and Anthony never relaxed and the Nuggets pushed their lead to 90-64 entering the fourth.
The Nuggets shot 63 percent in the first quarter as the Cavaliers did little defensively to prevent Denver from scoring. Iverson and Anthony each knocked down wide-open 3s during a 16-0 spurt that put the Nuggets ahead by 13.
They only cooled off slightly in the second quarter, taking a 63-45 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Lakers 104, Heat 94
MIAMI - Kobe Bryant scored 33 points, and Los Angeles used a 16-2 second-half run to pull away and beat skidding Miami.
Mark Blount finished with 22 points for Miami, which has lost seven straight and 22 of its last 23. Dwyane Wade scored 19 and Shawn Marion, playing his first game for the Heat since Wednesday's stunning deal that sent Shaquille O'Neal to the Phoenix Suns for he and Marcus Banks, finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Celtics 98, Spurs 90
BOSTON - Paul Pierce scored 35 points, Ray Allen had 19, and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists and 11 rebounds for Boston.
Tim Duncan had 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, and Manu Ginobili scored 21 for the Spurs, who lost for the first time in five games. San Antonio got within four points in the final minute, but twice Ginobili was forced to take off-balance 3s that weren't even close.
Nets 101, Mavericks 82
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Vince Carter scored 25 of his 29 points after nearly being knocked out by an elbow to the head, and New Jersey reeled off 21 straight points to stun Dallas.
Richard Jefferson added 19 points and Jason Kidd put aside trade rumors once again to finish with 13 points, 14 assists and 6 rebounds.
Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points for Dallas.
Raptors 105, T'Wolves 82
MINNEAPOLIS - Toronto's Andrea Bargnani scored 16 points and Jose Calderon had 15 points and 10 assists for his second consecutive double-double.
Chris Bosh added 14 points for the Raptors, and T.J. Ford had 7 points and 13 assists.
Al Jefferson led Minnesota with 18 points.44.97903 -93.26493