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Nuggets hand Cavaliers 19th straight road loss

Nene scored 22 points, Chauncey Billups and Arron Afflalo each added 21 and the Denver Nuggets handed the banged-up Cleveland Cavaliers their 19th straight road loss, 127-99 on Saturday night.

Carmelo Anthony, shrugging off the intensifying trade talks, finished with 12 points as the Nuggets rolled to their third straight rout.

Cleveland kept it close early, even with only eight players available due to a rash of injuries and Ryan Hollins missing the game because of a death in the family. But the Nuggets went on a 43-18 run early in the second quarter to turn the game into a blowout.

Ramon Sessions scored 21 points and Antawn Jamison added 17 for the Cavs, who dropped their 13th straight game.

Leading by 36 points late in the third quarter, the Nuggets pulled most of their starters. Reserve Al Harrington chipped in 16 points and J.R. Smith contributed 13.

Cavs coach Byron Scott said before the game he had never guided a team with so few players on the bench.

Alonzo Gee logged the most minutes, playing more than 40 with no one really to spell him. The team also lost Mo Williams in the first quarter when went out with a left hip flexor strain.

That was on top of already being without Daniel Gibson (ankle), Anthony Parker (lower back), Anderson Varejao (ankle/foot), Joey Graham (quad), Leon Powe (knee) and Christian Eyenga (ankle).

The Nuggets scored a season-high 80 points in the first half, leading by 31 at the break as they shot nearly 67 percent from the floor.

About the only thing that dampened the night for the Nuggets was speedy backup point guard Ty Lawson spraining his left ankle and sitting out the second half. As he made his way to the dressing room, Lawson gave away his shoes to fans.

Lawson may be able to play Sunday night in San Antonio.

Denver also had blowout wins over the Phoenix Suns and a Miami Heat team minus LeBron James earlier in the week.

Just as the Nuggets are beginning to click on the court, they may be disbanded as trade talks heat up involving Anthony and the New Jersey Nets, a deal that could possibly go down next week.

Anthony insisted after morning practice Saturday he's more concerned with chasing a title than a big payday. That's why the All-Star forward has dragged his feet in signing the three-year, $65 million contract extension that's been on the table from the Nuggets since last summer.

He said he's continuing to weigh his options.

The discussions with the Nets remain ongoing but those involved were hopeful an agreement could be in place possibly before the Nuggets return home Wednesday to host Oklahoma City.

The biggest obstacle standing in the way may be Anthony's decision to sign the extension should a deal take place with the Nets, so he doesn't leave next summer and become the headliner of the 2011 free agent class.

The Cavs know a little bit about losing a superstar, as James announced last summer he would join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

And now the Cavs are firmly in rebuilding mode, losing 23 of 24 games.

That's something Nuggets coach George Karl wants to avoid, saying that if Anthony were dealt, "I don't want to rebuild, I want to reinvent. I want to reinvent our team rather than going into a rebuilding phase."

Notes: Both big Pittsburgh fans, Scott and Karl delayed their pregame availabilities to watch the end of the Steelers' win over Baltimore. Karl came out wearing a Steelers sweat shirt, while Scott wore Cavs gear. "Got to be respectful of our fans in Cleveland," Scott said, grinning. ... Nuggets F Chris Andersen missed his second straight game with a sore right knee and lower back. ... F Kenyon Martin was given the night off to rest his left knee. He's expected to play Sunday. ... The Cavs had seven of their eight players available score in double figures.