Carmelo ruins Thunder celebration

Carmelo Anthony’s 3-pointer from the corner with 0.1 seconds left capped a 31-point outing and lifted the Denver Nuggets past the Oklahoma City Thunder, 122-120 on Friday night.

Anthony’s winner came after Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to put the Thunder (4-30) ahead. Oklahoma City was seeking consecutive wins for the first time this season.

Northwest Division-leading Denver (22-12) rallied from a 14-point third-quarter deficit behind the trio of Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Nene. Nene had 27 points on 10-of-11 shooting and 14 rebounds, while Billups added 24 points for Denver, which was playing on the road for the eighth time in 11 games

Durant led the Thunder with 33 points, and Jeff Green had 18. Oklahoma City shot a season-high 58.4 percent from the field and posted its highest point total of the season, but Denver answered with 54.7 percent shooting.

Anthony’s winning shot was Denver’s fifth 3-pointer of the fourth quarter.

Billups’ 3-pointer with 1:45 left broke a 113-113 tie, and Oklahoma City didn’t regain the lead until Durant’s shot with 2.7 seconds left, when he took a pass from Green and hit his fourth 3-pointer in five attempts.

Denver led by 11 points in the first period and maintained that lead through much of the half.

But Oklahoma City responded with its highest-scoring quarter of the season, scoring 38 points. Denver was up 49-48 after a dunk by Martin with 4 minutes left in the half, but the Thunder went on a 16-4 run before halftime to take a 64-53 lead. Earl Watson keyed the spurt, scoring four baskets and assisting on another.

The Thunder’s previous high for points in a quarter this season was 34, and their best first-half point total had been 55, four days earlier in a loss to the Phoenix Suns. Oklahoma City went 17 of 25 from the field (68 percent) in the second quarter as the Nuggets committed eight turnovers.

Oklahoma City led 74-60 after a three-point play by Robert Swift with 9:52 left in the third quarter. Denver closed to 92-89 on Billups’ 3-pointer with 46.5 seconds left in the quarter, but the Thunder scored the next six points to rebuild their advantage.

Anthony’s two free throws with 3:50 left put the Nuggets up 109-107, their first lead since the second quarter.

Martin added 13 points for Denver. Wilkins had 16, and Watson added 15 points and seven assists for Oklahoma City.


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