PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points and 19 in the decisive fourth quarter to propel the Denver Nuggets past the Portland Trail Blazers 97-94 on Thursday.
Anthony made two free throws with less than two seconds remaining, after Portland botched a series of free throws to surrender an 85-80 lead with five minutes remaining.
Center Greg Oden had a chance to snatch victory for Portland when sent to the foul line with four seconds left and his team down by a point, but missed both attempts.
Brandon Roy scored 30 points and Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez 22 off the bench for the Blazers’ first loss of the season.
Fernandez looked to have inspired Portland to victory after sinking two three-pointers and 16 points in the fourth quarter, but then Anthony imposed his will on the game, notching 10 straight points.
The All-Star forward finished 11-for-21 from the field and 18-for-19 from the free throw line.
“It’s different (this year). My vision and focus — I see something at the end of the tunnel and that’s that (championship trophy),” Anthony, who scored 30 in Wednesday’s season-opening win over the Utah Jazz, told reporters.
“We knew we were a little fatigued from last night. It was a gutsy win.”
Point guard Chauncey Billups scored 22 points in a support role for the Nuggets, who are without J.R. Smith, the high-scoring guard serving a seven-game suspension because of off-court conduct.
Editing by Ian Ransom