Nuggets 122, Pacers 114

After a brief lull, Carmelo Anthony is scoring big again.

Anthony had 34 points and the Denver Nuggets overcame the

injury-related absences of Kenyon Martin and Ty Lawson to beat the

Indiana Pacers 122-114 on Friday night.

It was Anthony’s second consecutive 30-point performance after

going a season-high six straight games without reaching that mark.

He averaged 22.5 points during that six-game stretch before

breaking through for 30 on 11-of-19 shooting in a win over Oklahoma

City on Wednesday, just hours after being treated for dehydration

with intravenous fluids.

“That’s what All-Stars do. That’s why he puts up the numbers

that he does,” said Indiana’s Danny Granger, who scored 32 points.

“We just didn’t have any answer for him.”

Anthony, who has 25 games of 30-plus points this season, reached

the milestone in back-to-back games for the first time since doing

so in five straight from Dec. 8-16.

Anthony, who said he had been feeling run-down for about a week

and a half, received additional intravenous fluids after Friday

night’s game, when he went 12 of 20 from the field and 9 of 10 from

the free throw line.

“I felt much better,” Anthony said after getting the latest

round of IV fluids. “My legs are starting to get back. I had to

get another one. That was for precautionary reasons.”

Anthony said he wouldn’t be surprised if he had to get more IV

treatments in the coming days and weeks to help him hold up as the

Nuggets make their playoff push.

“The way that we play, the way I play, the traveling, it can

wear on anybody,” he said. “The last week and a half, it’s been

wearing on me.”

On Friday, he was wearing on the Pacers.

“Every time we started to climb back in, Carmelo just took

over,” Indiana coach Jim O’Brien said. “He is a terrific talent,

no matter how closely you guard him. He makes shots. He just

overpowers people. They have a heck of a basketball team.”

J.R. Smith added 20 points off the bench and Chauncey Billups

had 14 for the Nuggets, who sent the Pacers to their fifth loss in

a row on the road.

Nene and Chris Andersen each added 13 points and they combined

for 16 rebounds, helping to make up for the absence inside of

Martin, who sat out with a recurrence of left knee tendinitis.

Lawson, a key reserve, missed a third straight game with a bruised

left shoulder.

While Anthony’s big night was a huge factor for the Nuggets, it

was their bench players who got them over the hump, combining for

48 points.

“They all did great,” Denver guard Arron Afflalo said. “We

needed that tonight and it was important for us.”

Troy Murphy added 14 points, and Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush

had 12 points apiece for the Pacers.

The Nuggets have put together successive wins at the Pepsi

Center after finishing their most recent road trip with

back-to-back losses in Los Angeles and Phoenix, the first time they

had dropped consecutive games since late December.

Trailing by eight at halftime, the Pacers pulled to 82-76 when

Josh McRoberts dunked over Andersen with 4:03 remaining in the

third. But the Nuggets closed the period with a 15-6 run, with

Andersen muscling in a putback and then hustling down court to swat

an attempted layup by Granger.

Anthony had seven points in the surge that carried the Nuggets

to a 97-82 lead heading into the fourth quarter. They maintained a

double-digit lead until the final moments of the game.

Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers in the last 90 seconds of the

first, helping the Nuggets take a 38-28 lead. Denver appeared on

the verge of running away with the game when it scored 12 of the

next 17 points, moving in front 50-33 midway through the second

quarter on consecutive dunks by Nene.

But the Pacers strung together a 10-0 run to pull to 52-45 and

trailed 64-56 at halftime after Granger and Dahntay Jones each made

a pair of free throws in final 47 seconds of the second

quarter.

NOTES: The Nuggets went 2-0 against the Pacers this season,

their fourth series sweep in the last six years. … Denver

improved to 25-0 when scoring 110 or more points. … Indiana has

lost 10 of 12 to the Nuggets after winning 24 of the previous 29

meetings. … Granger has 10 30-point performances this season,

including his last four games. … Smith had a career-high eight

assists.