Nuggets Outrun Pacers for Win

DENVER - (AP) Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and had a season-high nine assists despite fracturing his right hand in the Denver Nuggets' 135-115 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

Anthony injured his hand when the ball was slapped away early in the third quarter. He continued playing, but frequently grabbed at his hand. He had the Nuggets trainer check it out a few times when play stopped and then left for good late in the fourth quarter.

The team doesn't know how much time he'll miss. He's going to see a specialist on Tuesday. The All-Star forward missed three games last month with a bruised right elbow.

"It's sore and stiff right now," said Anthony, whose hand was numb for most of the second half.

Kenyon Martin scored 25 points and Chauncey Billups scored 13 of his 24 points in the final quarter for the Nuggets, who have now won four in a row. They set a season-high in points against the Pacers. Their previous best was 132 against Toronto in early December.

Denver is 24-12 after 36 games, matching the Nuggets' best start since their first year in the NBA in 1976-77.

Danny Granger had 36 points, the most scored against the Nuggets this season. He's now scored 30 or more points 10 times this season.

Troy Murphy added 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Jarrett Jack contributed 17.

Denver led by as many as 20 points early in the game, only to see the Pacers tie it at 80 on Granger's layup in the third quarter. Anthony restored the lead on a 10-foot turnaround jumper the next time down the court, and the Nuggets wouldn't relinquish the advantage.

They outscored the Pacers 38-23 in the final quarter. Billups added 11 assists and went 8-for-8 from the line.

There was plenty of chirping at the officials in the first half as Jim O'Brien, Linas Kleiza, Anthony and George Karl all drew technicals for arguing.

O'Brien's rant late in the first quarter sparked the Pacers, who got off to a sluggish start, falling into a 20-point hole.

Indiana rallied to pull to 74-70 at halftime. Granger led the surge, scoring 26 first-half points, tying him with Memphis rookie O.J. Mayo for the most points in a half against Denver this season.

With his second 3-pointer of the first half, J.R. Smith moved into fourth on the Nuggets" all-time list, passing Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (371). Smith finished with 10 points.

The Pacers may soon have Mike Dunleavy back on the court, possibly even Wednesday at Phoenix.

Dunleavy has been out all season with a right knee injury. O'Brien said Dunleavy's minutes will be closely monitored once he returns.

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