Carmelo, Smith Lead Denver Past Warriors

Tuesday, February 13th 2007, 7:12 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ Stephen Jackson was too late to do the Golden State Warriors any good. The swingman missed the first half of the Warriors' 123-111 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night after testifying in a trial in Indianapolis of a man who hit him with a car during a fight outside a strip club last fall. The man was convicted Monday in a ruling by a judge.

``I wanted to play so badly that my body was already basically loose. I just didn't get here in enough time to be a factor,'' said Jackson, who arrived at halftime, picked up a quick technical and finished with nine points.

``I picked up a guy in the second half. I didn't know what to do, I had so many guys to sub,'' cracked Warriors coach Don Nelson, who also didn't have floor leader Baron Davis, who was schedules to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday.

Denver won its third straight behind Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, who scored 28 points apiece in the duo's best combined performance since their suspensions for fighting back in December.

In other NBA games, Detroit beat the Los Angeles Clippers 92-74, and Utah defeated Atlanta 102-76.

Anthony sat out much of the fourth quarter with a bruised thigh, but said he'd be back Wednesday night at Minnesota in the final game before the All-Star break.

Since being chosen to his first All-Star team as one of commissioner David Stern's injury replacement picks, Anthony has played better basketball. He was voted Western Conference player of the week Monday.

``The first couple of games when I first heard the news, it was in the back of my mind, lingering,'' Anthony said of his snub by Western Conference coaches, who select the reserves. ``I asked myself what I was doing out there, or what I wasn't doing, or am I doing too much or too little?''

Stern, who suspended Anthony for 15 games for his part in a brawl with the New York Knicks, picked him as a reserve last week.

``Once I got the news, it was like a relief for me,'' Anthony said. ``I got a chance to just go out there and focus and have fun. I feel like I have more pep to my step out there.''

Jackson also felt a lightened load Monday. He arrived at halftime after his flight was diverted to Colorado Springs because of fog.

``I got here safe. That was all that mattered,'' said Jackson, who started the second half and quickly picked up a technical for arguing a call with official Jess Kersey.

Earlier, Jackson testified against Deon Willford, who was found guilty of felony battery and failure to stop at a scene of an accident, a misdemeanor, and will be sentenced Feb. 28.

Jackson was booked into jail Oct. 12 and has been free since on $10,000 bond. He has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of criminal recklessness and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct in the fight outside Club Rio on Oct. 6. His trial is April 12. The criminal recklessness charge carries a prison term of six months to three years.

Willford's car hit Jackson after the fight started. The defendant testified Monday that the 6-foot-8 player was walking toward his car and pointing a gun at him. Other witnesses said Jackson was walking away from Willford's car and had no weapon out at the time.

``I'm just glad that a part of it's out of the way. I'm ready to move on,'' Jackson said of his testimony. ``It went well. It's something I couldn't get around.''

Nene had 24 points for Denver and Marcus Camby tied a career high with seven assists to go with eight points and seven rebounds in his return from a four-game absence with a pulled groin and the flu.

Al Harrington led the Warriors with 24 points, and Kelenna Azubuike added 23.

Pistons 92, Clippers 74

Chris Webber had 19 points and nine rebounds and the Pistons won their seventh straight.

The Clippers were missing Elton Brand, a late scratch with back spasms, and fell to 8-19 on the road.

Richard Hamilton scored 15 points and Tayshaun Prince added 14 for Detroit, which had all of its starters score in double figures.

Cuttino Mobley led Los Angeles with 17 points, and Corey Maggette finished with 15.

Jazz 102, Hawks 76

At Salt Lake City, Mehmet Okur had 19 points and six rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter, and Utah won its fifth in a row.

Andrei Kirilenko had 11 points and four blocks for the Jazz, who are on their longest winning streak since they won eight in a row in November while opening the season 12-1.

Marvin Williams led Atlanta with 15 points. Williams also got a bloody nose when he took a forearm by Utah's Rafael Araujo early in the fourth quarter, which resulted in Araujo getting ejected and Atlanta's Josh Smith getting a technical as Williams remained down in the lane.

After Araujo left to a standing ovation from the Jazz fans, both coaches pulled their starters before anybody else could get hurt or in trouble before the All-Star break.

The Hawks had won five straight on the road.