Anthony-less Nuggets down Bucks
J.R. Smith had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Chauncey Billups added 16 points for the Nuggets, who defeated the only team to sweep the season series from them last year. Milwaukee went 2-0 against Denver in 2009-10.
John Salmons scored 21 points for the Bucks. Corey Maggette added 17 points, and Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings had 14 apiece.
Anthony had 14 points when he was tossed with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter for arguing with officials over a non-call.
Milwaukee had closed to 68-65 when Anthony drove to the basket for a layup attempt and Sanders blocked the shot against the backboard. Anthony complained immediately to the officials that there should have been a goaltending call, and when he persisted was hit with the first technical.
During a television timeout after that initial sequence, Anthony renewed his complaint with the officials and was hit with a second technical, leading to his automatic expulsion. He was escorted off the floor.
The Nuggets nevertheless maintained command, taking a 76-71 lead into the fourth quarter. They stretched their lead with a 7-0 burst that included a pair of free throws and a basket by Al Harrington. After Billups hit a 3-pointer with 7:39 left, Denver had a comfortable 90-79 advantage.
Milwaukee led by as many as 11 in the second quarter, going in front 36-25 on Sanders’ 16-foot jumper with 7:18 left in the period. The Nuggets didn’t let the Bucks get any further in front, chipping away at the lead over the final 5 minutes of the first half to pull to 50-45.
NOTES: Bucks F Drew Gooden was back in action after being held out of the previous game because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. … Milwaukee was missing center Andrew Bogut (neck) and forward Carlos Delfino (neck). … The Nuggets’ longest active losing streak to another team was three games to the Bucks. … Sanders also had 10 rebounds.