- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) - Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 33.2 remaining, as the Denver Nuggets overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-109 on Wednesday night.

Anthony hit a pair of free throws with 5.8 seconds left for a 111-108 lead.

Memphis had one more chance, but Marc Gasol was fouled with 3.2 left. He hit the first one free throw and missed the second on purpose. Memphis was unable to corral the rebound, and Denver flung the ball into their frontcourt as the clock expired,.

The Nuggets snapped a six-game road losing streak. Chauncey Billups added 18 points and 12 assists for Denver and J.R. Smith scored 21.

Rudy Gay led Memphis with 30 points. O.J. Mayo and Hakim Warrick had 16 points apiece, and Mike Conley had eight points and matched his season-high with 10 assists.

The Nuggets outscored Memphis 30-18 in the fourth, sending Memphis to its 14th loss in the last 16, and seventh straight against Denver.

Memphis was in early foul trouble.

With Darko Milicic sitting out because of a bad back, the Grizzlies were forced to go to the bench for the seldom-used Hamed Haddadi, the league’s first Iranian player recalled earlier Wednesday from the Dakota Wizards.

The 7-foot-2 rookie responded with five early rebounds and seven points, not only a career-high in points for a game, but surpassing the five points he had scored all season.

He finished with seven points and seven rebounds.

The unexpected play from Haddadi and a dozen points from Gay, helped Memphis establish an 11-point lead in the first period.

Part of the Memphis success was getting to the basket and outscoring the Nuggets in the paint _ a rare feat for Memphis against the Nuggets. In the previous six games between the two teams, the Nuggets had scored an average of nine more points in the paint than Memphis.

Memphis was ahead 49-38, when the foul issues continued to mount.

Three Grizzlies had a trio of fouls each midway through the second. Memphis held on to carry a 59-53 lead into the break behind 19 points from Gay, who hit eight of his 12 first-half shots.

Nene had scored 15 points on 5-of-7 from the floor, and finished with 19.

The Nuggets closed in to open the second half, cutting the Grizzlies’ lead to single digits.

Memphis answered the initial rally, and when Gasol scored on a three-point play with just over 5 minutes left in the third, the Grizzlies had their biggest lead of the game at 79-62.

Memphis carried a 91-81 advantage into the fourth.

The Nuggets began chipping away at the Memphis lead near the midway point of the fourth. Anthony’s 3-pointer from the top of the key brought the deficit to 100-92 with 7:20 left. Another 3-pointer from Billups, cut the lead to five.

Denver stayed within the five to seven points until a 7-0 run, including four from Billups. Anthony’s wide open 3-pointer from the right of the key tied the game at 104 with 2:48 left.

Notes:@ The Nuggets are 44-25 for the second time in franchise history, their best record through 60 games. The 1984-85 team started with that record and went to the Western Conference finals. Nuggets F Kenyon Martin, played 24 minutes. It was his second game back in the lineup after missing five of six games with a lower back strain. Nuggets reserve F/G Linas Kleiza suffered a cut to his left eye in the first half. He returned in the second half.

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