DENVER c The NBA got a glimpse into the character of the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, more than anyone could derive by looking at the final score of their 105-95 victory over the sizzling Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets, coming off a beating in Detroit Wednesday, held off the Clippers, a team that came in with four consecutive victories, and did so without Marcus Camby. The center was a gametime scratch with a contu- sion of his right tibia, suffered in a collision in the loss to the Pistons. Camby was leading the NBA in rebounding entering play Friday with 13.9 per game and second to Miami’s Alonzo Mourning in blocked shots (3.31). He averages 16.8 points per game. It was up to the remaining nine core players George Karl relies on to compensate, and they gave the coach and the 18,142 in attendance what was needed. Carmelo Anthony scored a seasonhigh 35 points, adding six rebounds and four assists and playing what Karl said was the best game he’s played since the coach took over last season. Kenyon Martin added 16 points with six rebounds and Andre Miller and Earl Boykins each scored 15. But it also was the work of Eduardo Najera (nine points, five rebounds and two blocks) and the seldom-used Linas Kleiza (seven points, four rebounds) who sparked a 35-point third quarter that earned the Nuggets their sixth-straight home win. “It was a good team win. For me, as I was walking off the court, it was the most satisfying win we’ve had,” Karl said. “I think it was more character tonight than depth. “We know we’re shorthanded, we know we didn’t play very well against Detroit, (and there was) the pride factor playing against the team everybody’s talking about as the most improved team in the western Conference.” The Nuggets trailed 52-51 at the half, but went on a 13-2 tear to open the third quarter and led by 10 going into the final 12 minutes. The Clippers staged a surge that brought them within four (95-91) with 3:20 remaining. But baskets by Anthony and Boykins sealed it. “I thought Carmelo was sensational the whole game, but the second half, it was the best he’s played all year,” Karl said. “He was very involved and intense at both ends.” “I tried to go in and pick up some slack with Camby being out, play some tougher defense,” Anthony said. “It was a good win, especially with the Clippers being one of the hottest teams this year, and after getting thrashed in Detroit.” NEXT New Jersey (5-7) at Denver (8-6), 7 p.m. Tuesday, ALT, 1300/950 AM
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