Nuggets 94, Bucks 86

Preview | Box Score | Recap

DENVER (AP)—Hardships are a fact of life for an NBA rookie, and Carmelo Anthony keeps finding ways to overcome them.

Anthony, who played only three minutes of the first half because of foul trouble and failed to score, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets beat Milwaukee 94-86 Wednesday night.

Anthony scored eight of his points in the fourth quarter when the game was still in doubt.

“I contributed when it counted in the fourth quarter,” Anthony said. “What’s more important than the double-double is we won.”

Referring to his fouls, Anthony said, “You’re going to have nights like that. Referees don’t give you what you expect. You have to deal with it. It was a difficult game to play. You didn’t know when the calls would be made.”

Andre Miller hit a basket in the lane with 2:33 left, capping an 8-0 run, to give the Nuggets an 89-80 lead, and Milwaukee got no closer than six points thereafter.

Miller finished with 17 points and eight assists. Francisco Elson added 15 points and Voshon Lenard 14.

Tim Thomas scored 25 points and Michael Redd 24 for the Bucks. Joe Smith had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

In a game of surges and countersurges, Denver used a 16-0 run in the second quarter to take a 55-36 halftime lead. Milwaukee opened the third quarter with its own 16-0 run, eventually pulling into a 67-all tie on Redd’s 3-pointer with 59 seconds left in the period.

Anthony scored six straight Denver points early in the fourth quarter to make it 81-73 before the Bucks went on a 7-0 spurt, capped by Redd’s basket, to trim the margin to 81-80 with 5:06 remaining. Denver scored the next eight points, however.

Anthony and Miller each hit a free throw, and Lenard added a 20-foot jumper. Jon Barry hit two free throws after making a steal at the other end, and Miller finished it off.

“Our first half was as good as we’ve had all year,” Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “We had 18 assists on 22 baskets and did a good job on the boards. We had 16 fastbreak points.

“Our conversation at halftime was to continue on and come out of the blocks very strongly. We didn’t. We had to dig one out in the second half.”

Bucks coach Terry Porter said he was “pleased with the second half and the way the guys fought their way back into the game, but I’m disappointed with the first half.

“In the second half, we attacked them in the paint, and when they did double, we kicked it out when we needed to. We played with a lot more aggressiveness. I wish we had started out that way.”

Lenard had six points, three rebounds and three assists in the first quarter to help the Nuggets take a 26-24 lead.

Redd, who had eight points in the quarter, put the Bucks ahead 8-2 with a free throw on a clear-path foul, but Denver used a 9-3 run, including Elson’s three-point play, to make it 11-11. Denver’s Earl Boykins hit two baseline jumpers late in the period.

Leading 30-28 early in the second quarter, Denver scored the next 16 points, including a pair of fast-break slam dunks by Chris Andersen and Elson’s three-point play.

Milwaukee went 6:24 without a field goal during that Denver flurry, and the Nuggets led 55-36 at halftime.

Thomas made a pair of 3-pointers to highlight Milwaukee’s 16-0 outburst inthe third period.

Notes

Denver forward Nene missed his second straight game with a strained left groin. He expects to return Friday against Washington. … Milwaukee lost 101-93 to Atlanta at home Tuesday night, while Denver fell 89-76 at Minnesota. … Denver has won 11 of the past 13 home games against Milwaukee. … TheNuggets had a season-high 16 blocked shots, including seven by Andersen.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Milwaukee
J. Smith J. Smith
5-12,  12 Pts
11 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Denver
A. Miller A. Miller
6-17,  17 Pts
5 Rebs, 8 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists