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Carmelo Anthony returns to lead Knicks past Nuggets

Dec 9, 2012, 10:49 PM EDT

Denver Nuggets v New York Knicks Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony had missed the Knicks’ last two games due to sustaining a cut on a finger of his non-shooting hand, one that required five stitches to seal. It kept him from playing in New York’s win over the Heat in Miami on Thursday, and also kept him out of his team’s loss in Chicago on Saturday.

There was no way, however, that Anthony was going to miss the opportunity to play against his former team on Sunday.

Anthony had 11 fourth quarter points, on the way to 34 for the game in leading the Knicks to a 112-106 win over the Denver Nuggets.

This was an odd game, in that there was really no flow in it for either team. The Nuggets got out to a lead of eight points early in the fourth, but a 12-0 run by the Knicks very quickly made that lead disappear.

Two big thee-pointers from Steve Novak were key during that stretch, and after struggling to knock down shots from distance against the Bulls on Saturday, the Knicks got back to their three-point shooting ways by getting loose to hit 12 of their 30 attempts on the night from beyond the arc, good for 40 percent.

Denver shot a very high percentage on the evening, finishing with a mark of better than 55 percent from the field. But too many turnovers in key situations killed their chances, led by the insanely unaware play of JaVale McGee, who continues to make mind-boggling decisions on a nightly basis, especially defensively.

Danilo Gallinari had a nice game against his former team as well, scoring 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while adding nine rebounds and dishing out three assists.

The Nuggets did what they always do, and that’s get most of their points in the paint and around the basket. They outscored the Knicks by 30 in the points-in-the-paint category, yet they managed to shoot just 29 percent from three-point distance as the Knicks outscored them by 21 points from downtown.

Add in a rebounding advantage of double-digits for the Knicks, along with seven more Nuggets turnovers, and you have the game’s final result.

Anthony saving himself for this game is telling. He forced his way out of Denver two seasons ago, although to his credit, he was at least up front about his intentions from the very start.

There should be no ill will from Anthony toward the organization that drafted him back in 2003, and that facilitated his demand to be dealt to the bright lights of New York City.

But players seem to find motivation in the strangest of places, and despite the fact that Denver was nothing but accommodating to Anthony, both during his seven-plus seasons there and in the team’s efforts to trade him at his request, it’s clear that Anthony still feels like he has something to prove against the Nuggets.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 9, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Took a lot of pressure off Felt tonight.

  2. eventhorizon04 - Dec 10, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    I don’t think Carmelo is motivated by a “hatred” of the Denver Nuggets organization or fans. As you said, they treated him well and accommodated his request to be traded, and they sent him to a big market – NYC – to boot (which a lot of NBA stars dream of). I doubt Carmelo has any resentment towards them at all.

    I DO think he was motivated to prove that the Knicks got fair value in the trade, since the fact that the Nuggets played well with their new roster early while the Knicks struggled at first with Melo made the trade seem very one-sided in favor of the Nuggets. Melo leading his team to a narrow win over his old team helps demonstrate the Knicks got better from that trade too.

    Regardless, it’s fair to say that both teams look like solid playoff contenders, with each team having star players who want to be there, so win-win.

  3. badintent - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    If we could get Melo on the block for an entire quarter, Kidd and Felton could have Melo run the O like Scottie did in the Triangle. If Melo is doubled, kick it out to Novak or
    Sheed for a 3 or pass it back in to Melo with the double comes off. If the double comes back , alley op pass to Chandler.Even J.R. can work with that.Nice win tonight, Knicks , your table at The Palm is waiting. Enjoy the steaks.

  4. fanofevilempire - Dec 10, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    I remember when Melo came to NYC and everyone was bitchin about ALL the players sent to Denver he asked a reporter, you wouldn’t trade ALL those guy’s for me?
    I don’t have to tell you how that worked out for the Knicks.

    • football58 - Dec 10, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      How has that worked out for the Knicks. I haven’t seen them get past the first round yet. Have you?

  5. dysraw1 - Dec 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    health and attitude is all this team should be concern with right about now its a long season, and a lot more hills to climb.

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