OKLAHOMA CITY - Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets didn’t let another big second-half lead slip away. Anthony scored a season-high 31 points and keyed a decisive 13-point run in the fourth quarter to help Denver beat the New Orleans Hornets 91-81 on Wednesday in front of 18,442 at the Ford Center. The Hornets cut into a nine-point deficit with a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter, but Anthony scored seven points as Denver built an 84-69 lead. “The ball was dropping for me,” Anthony said. “My shot’s falling, I’m taking good shots and getting out in the open court and getting easy baskets.” Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin sat out for the second time in three games with tendinitis in his left knee. He said he didn’t know if he’ll play Friday in Denver against the New York Knicks. New Orleans closed to 86-79 before Anthony put the game away with a two-handed jam with 1:10 left. Marcus Camby added 15 points and 15 rebounds and Andre Miller also scored 15 for the Nuggets, who won their first road game of the season. Denver led by 19 in the second half at Dallas on Tuesday before the Mavericks came back for an 83-80 win. “We needed this one,” Camby said. “We thought we let one slip away last night.” Chris Paul scored 18 points and David West added 16 for New Orleans, which lost its fourth straight game. After they beat Sacramento 93-67 in their season opener, the Hornets have lost their past three games at their temporary home. Anthony was on the bench when the Hornets started their comeback. Speedy Claxton converted a 3-point play and Desmond Mason was fouled on a jumper to get New Orleans within 69-65 before Anthony returned. After a basket by Denver’s Earl Watson, West and Mason hit back-to-back jumpers to cut New Orleans’ deficit to 71-69, and Denver coach George Karl called a timeout. “George just told us to stay focused,” Anthony said. “That was the main thing. Just stay focused out there and not let it slip away like we did yesterday.” “We were in the same situation with Dallas, and I guess we kind of had flashback,” Anthony added. “We didn’t want to end up in the same situation.” After the timeout, Anthony took over. He hit a pair of free throws then connected on the game’s only 3-pointer on the Nuggets’ next trip. His steal led to a fast break that resulted in a pair of free throws by Earl Boykins, and his basket in the lane stretched Denver’s lead to 80-69. NEXT Denver (4-5) vs. New York (2-6), 7 p.m. Friday, ALT, 1300 AM
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