OAKLAND (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 37 points, Dorell Wright had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors beat the short-handed Denver Nuggets 116-114 on Wednesday night.
David Lee had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Wright added eight assists and the Warriors closed out their longest home stretch of the season in style. They finished 8-6 during a stretch of 13 of 14 at home.
Carmelo Anthony finished with 29 points, and Nene had 17 points for a Nuggets team playing without starting point guard Chauncey Billups. Billups sat out with a strained left knee but expects to play Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks in Denver.
After Denver trimmed a 13-point deficit to only one, Ellis answered with a 3-pointer with 47.7 seconds remaining to give Golden State a 116-112 lead. J.R Smith came back with a jumper, and Denver had one final chance to send it to overtime or win.
But a botched final possession ended with an errant, step-back shot from Nene that missed—his only miss of the game after making his first six shots. Anthony was clearly upset he didn’t get the ball on the final possession, throwing his head band to the floor and quickly walking to the locker room.
It was about the worst possible way for Denver to end the night, and perhaps the best way for Golden State to close out a long homestand.
While they finished with a winning mark, they had talked about aiming even higher and trying to get into the Western Conference playoff picture. Instead, Golden State (23-28) is still five-games below .500 and heading into a difficult part of its schedule.
The Warriors can at least take some momentum with them on the road.
They withstood another strong performance by Anthony and regained their shooting spark after a 2-for-18 performance from 3-point range in a loss against Phoenix on Monday. Golden State overcame a 10-point deficit early and clamped down defensively late to pull away from the Nuggets, going ahead 97-84 in the third quarter.
They didn’t do much to slow down Anthony.
Not that much has these days.
Anthony has had trade talk swirling around him from New York to Los Angeles since he declined a three-year, $65 million extension in June. Two deals with the New Jersey Nets have collapsed, others have heated up and cooled off, but many still expect he’ll be moved by the Feb. 24 trade deadline so the Nuggets don’t risk losing him to free agency next summer for nothing.
Anthony brushed aside all the talk again to almost rally the Nuggets.
They just didn’t no enough defensively.
Vladimir Radmanovic, Stephen Curry, Wright and Ellis all connected from beyond the arc in the first half to push Golden State’s lead to six points in the second quarter.
The Warriors took the lead on a 14-3 spurt with Anthony on the bench but struggled to hold on when Denver’s All-Star returned. Anthony made three consecutive jumpers, and the Nuggets closed Golden State’s lead to 70-68 at the break but struggled to keep things close after intermission.
NOTES: Nuggets coach George Karl said he thought G Arron Afflalo should have been invited to play in the 3-point contest during All-Star weekend. Afflalo began Wednesday shooting almost 45 percent from beyond the arc. “I guess Arron needs a little more personality,” Karl joked. … The Warriors paid tribute to Hall of Famer Rick Barry, a member of the 1974-75 championship team who was in attendance, at the end of the first quarter.
(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)