Anthony shines on return to lift Nuggets

DENVER, Colorado (Reuters) - Carmelo Anthony marked his return from a two-week injury layoff with 24 points to spark the Denver Nuggets to a 105-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.

The NBA's leading scorer played 34 minutes in his first appearance since missing five games because of a knee injury suffered on December 28.

Anthony showed little sign of rust, making two straight three-pointers in the fourth quarter which helped seal victory.

"I felt pretty good, Anthony told reporters. "Early in the game, by me not playing five-on-five basketball, it was hard to figure what I can do and what I can't do.

"I was trying to ease my way into the game... once I was able to do that it felt pretty good."

Chauncey Billups added 18 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets (24-14), who stretched an eight-point halftime lead to an 85-70 advantage by the end of the third.

Minnesota (8-31) had defeated Denver (24-14) in their last meeting on November 29 but could not repeat the feat despite 25 points from Corey Brewer as well as 22 and 15 boards from Al Jefferson.

The Timberwolves defeated the Nuggets on November 29 when they ended Denver's 17-game home winning streak.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)