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.
The 37-year-old Vogel replaced Jim O'Brien, who was fired on Sunday. Vogel said he would allow Hibbert to play through his mistakes, and the 7-foot-2 center rewarded his new coach with his highest-scoring game since Nov. 28. Darren Collison and Paul George scored 16 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 14 as the Pacers extended Toronto's losing streak to 12 games. The Raptors gave up 100 or more points for the eighth straight contest.
Amir Johnson led Toronto with 18 points, and Jose Calderon and Ed Davis added 13. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto's leading scorer this season, finished with 12 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
GRIZZLIES 100, MAGIC 97: At Memphis, Tenn., Mike Conley scored 26 points and had a key steal late, and Jason Richardson missed a 40-footer at the buzzer as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Orlando Magic 100-97 on Monday night.
Gilbert Arenas made one of two foul shots to cut the Grizzlies' lead to 98-97 with 40 seconds left.
Conley stole the ball from Orlando forward Ryan Anderson and was fouled. Dwight Howard was then called for a technical foul and Zach Randolph made the free throw. Conley made one of two free throws before Richardson's shot missed badly.
Conley also had 11 assists, marking the first time in his career he had more than 20 points and 10 assists in the same game.
Lionel Hollins became the coach with most wins in Grizzlies history with 96.
MAVERICKS 102, WIZARDS 92: At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, Tyson Chandler added 18 points and 18 rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks stretched their winning streak to five games with a 102-92 victory over Washington on Monday night, keeping the Wizards winless on the road.
Jason Terry contributed 14 points and eight assists and Shawn Marion had 14 points and nine rebounds for Dallas, which has won six of seven following a six-game losing streak.
Washington dropped its fifth straight and slipped to 0-24 on the road, the third-worst road start in NBA history.
Dallas holds the record, dropping its first 29 on the road in 1992-93.
Rookie of the Year contender John Wall had 17 points and 10 assists, and Nick Young and Rashard Lewis had 18 points apiece for Washington.
CLIPPERS 105, BUCKS 98: At Los Angeles, Blake Griffin continued his stellar rookie season with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to lead the Clippers to victory over Milwuakee. Baron Davis added 18 points and seven assists for Los Angeles.