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News » Anthony goes for 50 as Nuggets hold on NUGGETS 128, KNICKS 125

Anthony goes for 50 as Nuggets hold on NUGGETS 128, KNICKS 125

Anthony goes for 50 as Nuggets hold on NUGGETS 128, KNICKS 125 Carmelo Anthony smiled wide when he was asked about Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun Basketball philosophy.

"Players love it," the Nuggets forward said.

The shoot-it-in-eight-seconds New York Knicks almost never dribble the air out of the Basketball, though at times this season the air might have been pounded out of it by the high numbers of bricks they've put up.

Defense is optional when the Knicks are the opponent, but wins for the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center aren't. They collected another home win Friday, outlasting the Knicks 128-125. The victory was the Nuggets' 17th straight at home, dating back to last season - and gave Denver a 2-0 city sweep of New York with the Broncos' win over the Giants on Thanksgiving night.

As if turkey wasn't enough, Anthony gorged himself on a diet of open shots provided by New York. And he made them count. The Nuggets forward knocked down 17-of-28 shots to finish with a career-high 50 points.

"It feels good," said Anthony, whose previous career high was 49 at Washington in 2008. "I have not been (to 50 points) a lot of times, and never got over that hump (in the NBA)."

Anthony had 10 in the first quarter, 14 in the second, 15 in the third and 11 in the fourth.

And a shot chart full of filled-in circles.

Anthony, so far, is having the best season of his career. MVP chants are becoming common in the Pepsi Center, and they revved up again in the fourth quarter when Anthony stepped to the free-throw line.

Anthony's magic-carpet ride has him atop the NBA in scoring, but as important to his coach is a more consistently balanced stat sheet. Friday, Anthony added six rebounds and five assists to his point total.

"He played very, very well," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Tonight's game is probably a celebration of how he's played all year."

It turned out the Nuggets pretty much needed every drop of Anthony's production because the Knicks put the pressure on them all night, mostly from Al Harrington. The veteran could not be handled by the Nuggets and finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds.

The Nuggets held an eight-

point lead (98-90) with 10 minutes left in the game, but an 11-2 Knicks run quickly gave them the lead at 101-100.

The Nuggets took a 104-102 lead, and the fourth quarter became a back-and-forth shootout with both teams hitting shots from nearly everywhere on the court. Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith hit key baskets down the stretch. Billups scored a season-high 32 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter.

His layup with 26 seconds left gave the Nuggets a 125-120 lead, but Wilson Chandler answered with a 3-pointer for the Knicks to close the margin to 125-123. Two Anthony free throws gave the Nuggets a 127-123 lead, but Harrington made a layup to bring the Knicks within two at 127-125.

Smith then made one of two free throws with 4.4 seconds left to seal the game.

Of his free throws, Anthony said, "They might have been the two toughest free throws I've shot in a while. You've got the game on the line, 50 - you're right there, you want to get it. If I said I didn't want to get it, I'd be lying to you. But most importantly, they went in."

David Lee (23 points) and Larry Hughes (16 points) contributed what they could as part of six players in double figures, but the Knicks needed more.

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or ------------------------------------------------------------------- Nifty fifty

With a 50-point performance Friday against the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony joined an elite list of Nuggets players who have scored at least 50 points in a game:


73....David Thompson....1978

54....Michael Adams....1991

54....Alex English....1985

51....Allen Iverson....2007....

51....Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf....1995....

51....Alex English....1989....

51....Kiki Vandeweghe....1983....

50....Kiki Vandeweghe....1984....

50....Carmelo Anthony....2009....

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Added: December 1, 2009


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