Carmelo Anthony made three free throws and a tough layup in traffic in the final 43 seconds, capping a 43-point performance that lifted the Denver Nuggets to a 103-101 victory over the Jason Kidd-less Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
Kidd hurt his lower back Wednesday night and missed his first game for Dallas after playing 100 straight since being acquired last year.
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Despite Josh Howard also being out with a sprained ankle, the Mavericks kept it close but wound up losing at home for the first time since the All-Star break, ending a nine-game winning streak.
Denver won for the seventh time in eight games. The Nuggets also swept the season series from Dallas for the first time.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points, but missed a go-ahead jumper with about 10 seconds left and fell after grabbing a rebound of Anthony's missed final free throw with less than a second left. He tripped over the foot of Denver's Dahntay Jones but no foul was called. Fans booed and the Mavs were slow to leave the court, but it couldn't change anything.
J.J. Barea put Dallas ahead with 1:27 left by nailing an open 3-pointer, then did it again with 23.1 seconds to go. Anthony answered by driving through several players and banking it in off the glass. It was the 20th lead change in a game that also included 10 ties.
Anthony was 18-of-29 and grabbed 11 rebounds. J.R. Smith scored 22 on 9-of-12 shooting -- with most of his points coming on long jumpers that barely moved the net -- and Kenyon Martin added 10 points.
Jason Terry started in place of Kidd, but remained more scorer than distributor with 20 points. However, he had 11 in the first quarter, when he and Nowitzki scored 22 of Dallas' first 23 points.
Barea scored 22, making five of seven 3-pointers. He scored 15 of the Mavericks' final 21 points. Nowitzki was 1-of-9 in the second half.
Ryan Hollins had nine points and career highs with eight rebounds and four blocks. That included a swat of Chris Andersen late in the fourth quarter that brought the crowd to its feet.
Without Kidd, the Mavericks had one of their worst shooting nights, making only 35.6 percent of their shots. But they had only six turnovers and Antoine Wright, who often covers small forwards, did a solid job on Billups.
Anthony, however, was a different story.
He scored 12 in the first quarter, eight in the second, 13 in the third and 10 in the fourth. It didn't matter who covered him, he rarely missed.