Wednesday , Dec , 03 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Western Conference surprise in Oakland

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Two teams that are on the rise meet tonight
when the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors square off at the Arena in
Oakland in a Western Conference battle.

This is the first of a home-and-home set between the two teams. The Nuggets
will host the Warriors on Friday at the Pepsi Center.

The new and exciting Nuggets come into tonight’s contest on a four-game
winning streak.

Carmelo Anthony poured in a game-high 26 points as the Nuggets outlasted
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 115-103, on Tuesday at the Pepsi
Center. Anthony scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half, rebounding from
a poor start where he hit just 1-of-5 shots in the opening half.

“Carmelo is a very special player,” Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said after
Tuesday’s game. “He came through when it counted. We need to play as a team to
win. As soon as you start getting pats on the back, the kick in the butt is
not far behind.”

Denver had a total of five players score in double digits, as Nene scored 21
points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Andre Miller chipped in with 14 points and
dished out nine assists for the Nuggets, who at 11-6 are off to their best
start since 1989-1990.

Voshon Lenard added 13 points and Jon Barry provided a spark off the bench
with 14 for Denver, which improved to 8-1 at home.

Anthony was too much for James and the Cavs, as he sparked a 10-0 run that put
the Nuggets up 92-81 midway through the fourth.

Later in the quarter, Anthony answered a James three-pointer with a tip-in and
moments later, Anthony stole a pass and found Barry open in the lane for a
scoop lay-up that made the score 102-93 in favor of Denver with just under
five minutes left.

Cleveland then tried to make it interesting down the stretch.

Carlos Boozer’s jumper made it a six-point Nuggets lead with under two minutes
left. Boozer was then called for goaltending on an Anthony jumper and the lead
was back to eight points.

Denver iced it on its next two possessions, as Earl Boykins first slipped down
the lane and scored on a soft layup before he banked a shot off the glass for
a sizeable 12-point lead as the clock ticked down to under a minute left in
the game.

The Nuggets are 3-5 on the road this season.

The Warriors, who have also won four in a row overall, come into tonight’s
contest well rested.

Nick Van Exel posted a season-high 29 points to lead the way, as the Warriors
triumphed 91-89 over the defending world champion San Antonio Spurs on
Saturday at the Arena.

Mike Dunleavy and Brian Cardinal each contributed 11 points and Erick Dampier
pulled down 16 rebounds for Golden State.

The Warriors had a winning record (8-7) after the month of November for the
first time since 1994.

Golden State is a respectable 7-3 at home this season.

In 2002-03, the Warriors won all four contests with the Nuggets.

Overall, Golden State has won seven of the last eight meetings with Denver.

Denver has lost four straight and 14 of its last 16 at Golden State.