EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony woke up the unbeaten Nuggets in a 44-point third quarter and Denver continued its best start since 1985-86 with a 122-94 victory over the winless New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.
The win was the fifth straight for Denver, one shy of the 85-86 start, and it handed the Nets their fifth straight loss, tying the worst start in franchise history, set in 1996-97.
Ironically, New Jersey led 51-50 at intermission until Denver put on an offensive show in the third quarter, hitting 17 of 25 shots and outscoring the Nets 44-26.
Billups scored the first seven points to give Denver the lead for good and finished with all 12 of his points in the quarter. Anthony, who was 1 of 11 in the first half, scored 11 of his 22 points in the quarter, which was the Nets' worst defensive effort since giving up 49 points against Atlanta in 1985.
Chris Douglas-Roberts had 19 points to lead the Nets, who were without All-Star guard Devin Harris and four other injured players. Eduardo Najera had 14 points for New Jersey in his first start of the season.
Former Net Kenyon Martin added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets. Rookie Ty Lawson added a season-high 23 points on 9 of 10 shooting. Nene had 16 and nine rebounds, while Aaron Afflalo had 15.
Billups, who was in foul trouble in the first half and didn't score, hit two free throws, a drive and a 3-pointer in the opening 1:11 to give the Nuggets a 57-51 lead. Nene added two free throws and a big jam and Anthony had an alley-oop, a reverse layup and a drive to cap the 21-6 spurt that put Denver ahead 71-57.
New Jersey never got close after that.
The Nets dressed 10 players with Tony Battie, Keyon Dooling, Jarvis Hayes and Yi Jianlian out with injuries. … Denver's Joey Graham missed the game with sprained right big toe. … The 22 points were Anthony's lowest output of the season. He came in averaging a league-high 34.5 points. … Denver has scored at least 110 points in 11 of its last 14 regular-season games dating to last season. … Billups had scored at least 20 points in each of the Nuggets first four games.
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