DENVER (AP) – Carmelo Anthony had 28 points and eight rebounds, Nene scored 22 points and the Denver Nuggets held off the New Jersey Nets 107-103 on Saturday night.
Brook Lopez scored 20 points to lead seven New Jersey players in double figures. Rookie Derrick Favors had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench for New Jersey, which lost the last three games of its four-game western trip.
Ty Lawson had 15 points off the bench for the Nuggets.
Anthony might have been in a New Jersey uniform Saturday if a rumored deal between the Nets and Nuggets didn’t fall through on the eve of training camp.
The four-team deal, which included Utah and Charlotte, would have sent the Brooklyn-born Anthony to the Nets, who are planning a move to the borough. The 19-year-old Favors would have gone to Denver in the deal, but said before the game the rumors didn’t bother him.
“I didn’t pay attention to it,” he said. “Not when it came up on TV or on the Internet. I just concentrated on playing basketball.”
The Nuggets shopped their All-Star forward because Anthony has yet to sign a three-year, $65 million extension that was put on the table in June. The Nuggets also talked with New York and Chicago, but the most serious discussions were with New Jersey.
The Nets, who played a tough game in Sacramento on Friday, hung with the Nuggets until late in the game. They trailed by 13 but cut the deficit to two midway through the final period.
A three-point play by Anthony with 5:55 left and two free throws by Nene pushed the lead to 99-93. The Nets missed four straight shots before Chauncey Billups found Nene underneath for an easy layup.
The Nets didn’t go away. Devin Harris’ layup with 45 seconds left made it 105-103. They had a chance to tie, but Lopez’s layup with 14.9 seconds left rolled off the rim and Anthony clinched the win with two free throws with 13.5 seconds remaining.
Notes: Billups briefly left after falling face first onto the hardwood late in the first quarter. He was fouled on the play and hit two free throws before going to the locker room to get stitched up. He returned midway through the second quarter. … The Nuggets have won seven of their last eight games against the Nets.
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