Anthony gets help in Denver’s 112-102 win over Wolves

Published 8:33 am Thursday, March 11, 2010

Soaring through the air for a jaw-dropping, 360-dunk off an alley-oop pass, J.R. Smith showed everyone what teammate Chauncey Billups already knew — the Denver Nuggets are so much more than a two-man team.

Even though they held Billups and Carmelo Anthony in check for much of the game, the Minnesota Timberwolves were still powerless against a deeper and far more talented opponent.

Billups scored 25 points and got a huge lift from role players Smith, Chris Andersen and Nene in the Nuggets’ 110-102 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

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“Sometimes J.R. is going to have it rolling and I can take a back seat, just facilitate,” Billups said. “Sometimes other guys will be going. That’s the beauty of a team.”

Andersen had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Nene had 17 points and nine boards and Smith scored 15 to shake the Nuggets out a first-half funk and deliver their fourth straight win.

Al Jefferson had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost their seventh straight game and 13th in the last 14. Minnesota has won once since Feb. 6.

“Losing, it weighs on you,” said coach Kurt Rambis, whose Timberwolves lost for the 51st time. “Everybody’s frustrated. This is where you look at people’s character and see what they do. Your options are to roll over or to fight.”

Corey Brewer scored 21 points, but the Timberwolves shot 39 percent, which negated a 53-43 advantage on the boards.

Anthony added 19 points, but it was the contributions of his supporting cast that proved to be the most important for the short-handed Nuggets.

With coach George Karl watching from home while he undergoes treatment for neck and throat cancer, the Nuggets started sluggish against another struggling team and trailed by eight points with less than eight minutes to play in the third quarter.