NEWARK, N.J. — Brook Lopez scored 27 points and Devin Harris had a career-high 18 assists as the Nets gave Carmelo Anthony an indication why he might want to play for New Jersey with a 115-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
The game was the first between the teams since Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told his team to halt extended trade talks with Denver for Anthony a little less than two weeks ago, saying the drawn-out negotiations were hurting his team.
The Nets (15-34) are 5-3 since the talks ended, but Anthony gave the fans who jeered and cheered him at different times a clear indication why he is so valued, scoring 37 points — two shy of his season high — to keep his team in the game.
Travis Outlaw scored 13 of his 20 points in a big first quarter for the Nets and Anthony Morrow, who was part of the three-team, 15-player deal for Anthony that included Detroit, added 18. Kris Humphries had 15 and nine rebounds for New Jersey, which shot 53.2 percent from the field, hitting 9 of 15 3-pointers.
Chauncey Billups, who was also supposed to be sent to New Jersey in the deal, had 17 of his 19 points in the second half. Nene added 16.
New Jersey never trailed after the opening minutes and led by as many as 18 points in the first half.
However, Melo wouldn't get the Nuggets go away and Harris, who was the major part in the Nets deal to the Nuggets, wouldn't let Denver get over the hump in its comeback.
Trailing 82-69 with 2:36 left in the third quarter, Anthony hit a jumper to ignite a 9-3 run that featured six of Billups' 11 points in the quarter.
The lead shrunk and it looked as if it was down to 85-81 when J.R. Smith hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was reviewed and waved off because the shot left his hand a split second too late.
Denver managed to cut the lead to four points three times in the fourth quarter, the last at 96-92 on a drive and jam by Nene with 7:43 to play.
Harris then drove for a layup to ignite an 8-1 run that ended with six free throws, one courtesy of a technical against Billups, who was miffed a foul wasn't called when he was stripped for his seventh turnover.
Denver never got close after that.
New Jersey scored hit 25 of 40 shots from the field in the first half, including 6 of 8 from long range, in taking a 63-50 lead over the Nuggets, who were losing their second game in as many nights.
The halftime point total was a season high for New Jersey, which needed it because Anthony was single-handedly almost as good.
Melo scored 23 in the half, hitting 6 of 12 from the field and 9 of 10 free throws.
HEAT 117, CAVALIERS 90: At Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 26 of his 34 points in the first half, LeBron James added 24 points and eight assists against his former team and the Miami Heat beat Cleveland 117-90 on Monday night, sending the Cavaliers to their 21st straight loss.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 12 points and had a season-high 14 rebounds for the Heat, who moved to 3-0 against the Cavs this season.
Antawn Jamison finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who rallied from an early 19-point deficit to get within 70-67 in the third quarter.
But James finished off a 19-5 Heat run to end the quarter and Miami cruised from there, turning it into a romp.
PACERS 104, RAPTORS 93: At Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 11 rebounds to help Indiana beat the Toronto Raptors 104-93 Monday night in Frank Vogel's debut as Pacers interim coach.
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