Melo Returns, Scores 32 in Nuggets Win

NEW YORK - (AP) A week of rest was all Carmelo Anthony needed to rediscover his scoring touch. Playing the defenseless New York Knicks probably helped, too.

Anthony scored 32 points after missing three games with a bruised right elbow, and the Denver Nuggets sent the Knicks to their sixth straight loss with a 117-110 victory Sunday.

It was only the third 30-point game this season for Anthony, who has been bothered by the elbow since he was originally hurt in a victory over Houston on Nov. 30. The Nuggets decided to give their leading scorer a break after he averaged just 11.5 points on 8-of-27 shooting in losses to Cleveland and Phoenix on consecutive nights.

"I think that was the best thing that ever happened to me," Anthony said. "At first I was a little hesitant about doing it. Any time you can get rest during a long season like this, it helps."

Anthony hit all five shots in the final quarter. His jumper with 4:32 left gave Denver the lead for good at 107-106, and he knocked down consecutive jumpers to give the Nuggets a six-point lead about two minutes later.

For good measure, Anthony found Nene for a powerful clinching dunk that made it 116-109 with 1:05 to go. Anthony shot 13-of-19 and added nine rebounds.

J.R. Smith added 16 points and Billups 14 for the Nuggets, who shot 57 percent from the field in the opener of a four-game road trip.


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