The NBA's leading scorer Carmelo Anthony came up with his fifth successive 30-point effort to help the Denver Nuggets to a 111-101 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. Anthony recorded 38 points and added nine rebounds as Denver improved to 19-7 in a bittersweet game for the Nuggets. Point guard Chauncey Billups, who had 15 points, left the game with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter after straining his left groin.
Seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady played less than eight minutes for the Rockets (14-11), going scoreless in his second game since returning after a lengthy lay-off due to a knee injury. "It seemed like every time I went to the hole, I made something happen," Anthony said. "That's they way I like it, that's the way we like playing. We like attacking the rim. Tonight we took advantage of that. We knew his [Billups] groin was hurting. He didn't want to risk it, I'm pretty sure it's OK. He walked out [of the arena] fine."
Meanwhile, in other NBA action, Kobe Bryant continued his sizzling form with an overtime buzzer-beater to seal a 107-106 win for the Los Angeles Lakers at the Milwaukee Bucks. The four-time NBA champion had recorded a season-high 42 points against Chicago the previous day and continued his hot streak with a further 39 against the Bucks, all despite playing with a splint on his broken right index finger. He had the chance to win the match with a clutch shot at the end of regulation, but made no mistake with a 15-footer right at the end of the first period of overtime.
The result maintained their early dominance of this season's Western Conference, taking them to 20-4 for the campaign. The Dallas Mavericks took their winning streak to five in a 100-86 road success at the Oklahoma City Thunder. German forward Dirk Nowitzki was the Mavs' leader with 35 points and 11 rebounds as they outscored their hosts by 11 points in the final quarter. They also gained ground on Texan rivals the Houston Rockets in the South-West Division as they lost 111-101 to North-West leaders the Denver Nuggets, who were led by Carmelo Anthony's 38 points.
The San Antonio Spurs moved to 13-10 for the season with a 103-91 win at the Golden State Warriors. * With agencies