New Orleans Hornets forward David West, right, makes a shot around Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony during the game Wednesday in New Orleans.
New Orleans Hornets forward David West, right, makes a shot around Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony during the game Wednesday in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS — Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points and the Denver Nuggets beat New Orleans 101-88 on Wednesday night, snapping the Hornets’ three-game winning streak.

Chauncey Billups scored 26 points, hitting four of his five 3-pointers in the second half to help the Nuggets pull away after the game was tied with a little over 7 minutes to go in the third quarter.

Chris Paul had 19 points and 13 assists, and David West scored 18 points for New Orleans (44-26), which dropped a game behind Denver (46-26) in the Western Conference standings.

The score was tied at 55 when Anthony scored six quick points on two free throws and a pair of transition jumpers. The flurry began a 17-6 run that lasted late into the third quarter, putting Denver up 72-61. Billups drained his third 3 of the game during the spurt, while Kenyon Martin dunked and J.R. Smith converted a tough driving layup into a crowd.

Billups added two more 3s and a mid-range jumper early the fourth quarter. Then Smith, a former Hornets first-round draft choice, nailed a 3 to give Denver a 94-73 lead with 7:38 left.

Fans began getting up and heading for the exits, while one yelled, “you never should have let him go,” in an apparent reference to Smith, who had 16 points.

Hilton Armstrong and Rasual Butler each scored 10 points for New Orleans, which played an unusually sloppy game.

Paul turned the ball over six times, and Denver wound up converting 19 Hornets turnovers into 18 points.

In the second half, Anthony and Billups combined for 33 points.

Anthony started quickly, scoring Denver’s first four points of the game on a jumper and a dunk. He had 13 points in the first quarter alone, with his 3-pointer giving Denver a 24-14 lead.

Smith’s 3-pointer to open the second quarter gave Denver a 31-21 lead. Then the Hornets clawed back into the game with mostly reserves on the floor and Chris Paul on the bench. Morris Peterson’s 3 ignited a 12-2 run, capped by Antonio Daniels’ 3-pointer, which tied the game at 33.

New Orleans briefly took a 44-43 lead on Julian Wright’s three-point play, a fast-break underhanded flip off the glass as he was being held by Anthony Carter. Billups responded with his first 3-pointer of the game, and Denver led 46-45 at halftime.