WHAT IT MEANS: The New Jersey Nets put the MeloDrama aside, then went out and played one of their better games of the season. Think this one meant a little more than your average regular-season game? You better believe it. The Nets (15-34) shot a blistering 53.2 percent from the field and walloped superstar Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets, 115-99, at the Prudential Center. Anthony scored a game-high 37 points for the Nuggets (28-20), who wrapped up their five-game road-trip with consecutive losses. Meanwhile, the Nets, who had lost their last two games -- both on the road -- rebounded in a big way at the Rock. They’ve now won five of their last six at home.
TURNING POINT: The Nets made six consecutive shots during a 15-0 run that put them up 19-7 early in the first quarter. Travis Outlaw sparked the burst with a 17-footer and a pair of 3-pointers and Devin Harris, who finished with a season-high 18 assists, capped it by converting an old-fashioned 3-point play. The Nets ended up shooting 63.2 percent in the opening period -- 62.5 percent in the first half -- and leading by as many as 18, 55-37, with 3:19 remaining in the second quarter.
THE DIFFERENCE: The Nuggets finally made a game of it late in the third quarter. The Nets were up by 13 with 2:35 remaining in the third, but the Nuggets went on a 9-0 run to get within 82-78. It was a 98-93 game with 7:07 left in the fourth, but the Nets put the game away with an 8-1 spurt -- six of those eight points coming on free throws.
STAR OF THE GAME: Would you believe it if we told you it was Outlaw? No? We didn’t think so. But Timofey Mozgov’s breakout game on Sunday night must’ve been an omen for what was to come for one of the worst free-agent signings of the offseason. Outlaw hit his first three 3-pointers and seven of his eight shots from the field en route to 18 first-half points. He finished with 21 points in 37 minutes. For those who may not like the pick, Brook Lopez and his team-high 27 points was the other obvious choice.
MELODRAMA: Despite being booed whenever he touched the ball and whenever he missed a shot, Anthony showed the crowd why he would’ve been the perfect addition to one of the worst teams in the East. He finished 12-for-22 from the field, while pulling down a game-high nine rebounds.
PINE PRODUCTION:Anthony Morrow (16 points on 6-for-6 shooting, 4-for-4 from 3-point range) and Kris Humphries (15 points, nine rebounds) proved to be a major spark for the Nets off the bench, pouring in a combined 33 points. In fact, the Nets' reserves combined to outscore their Nuggets counterparts, 50-17.
CC IN THE HOUSE: Yankees ace CC Sabathia was sitting courtside and chirping at the players on the floor. After failing to aid the New York Knicks in landing his boy LeBron James, you wonder if Sabathia will try to befriend Anthony -- if they aren’t buddies already.
UP NEXT: The Nets host the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.