Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/28

Game 1: Sunday, December 28th
Nuggets117Final
Knicks110
Game 2: Tuesday, March 31st
Knicks104Final
Nuggets111

Nuggets 117

(20-11, 9-7 away)

Knicks 110

(11-18, 7-7 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    1:00 PM ET, December 28, 2008

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 27 39 27 24117
    NY 27 29 33 21110

    Top Performers

    Den: C. Anthony 32 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    NY: C. Duhon 17 Pts, 4 Reb, 11 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Nuggets dump Knicks as Anthony scores 32 in return

    Associated Press

    NEW YORK -- A week of rest was all Carmelo Anthony needed to rediscover his scoring touch.

    Playing the defenseless New York Knicks probably helped, too.

    Fast Facts

    • Denver's Carmelo Anthony returned from a three-game absence with a bruised right elbow to have his third 30-point game of the season.

    • After making 15 of 20 shots in the second quarter to take a double-digit lead, the Nuggets allowed the Knicks to shoot 60 percent in the third quarter to take the lead.

    • The Knicks have scored more than 100 points in 20 of their first 29 games and are averaging 103.3 ppg during this six-game losing streak.

    • The Nuggets have won six of their last eight against the Knicks.

    -- ESPN research

    Anthony scored 32 points after missing three games with a bruised right elbow, and the Denver Nuggets sent the Knicks to their sixth straight loss with a 117-110 victory Sunday.

    It was only the third 30-point game this season for Anthony, who has been bothered by the elbow since he was originally hurt in a victory over Houston on Nov. 30. The Nuggets decided to give their leading scorer a break after he averaged just 11.5 points on 8-of-27 shooting in losses to Cleveland and Phoenix on consecutive nights.

    "I think that was the best thing that ever happened to me," Anthony said. "At first I was a little hesitant about doing it. Any time you can get rest during a long season like this, it helps."

    The Nuggets blew the double-digit lead they seized by making 15 of 20 shots in the second quarter, but recovered behind Anthony's flawless fourth.

    Anthony hit all five shots in the final quarter. His jumper with 4:32 left gave Denver the lead for good at 107-106, and he knocked down consecutive jumpers to give the Nuggets a six-point lead about two minutes later.

    "They were letting him play 1-on-1. His jumper was going. We kind of just threw it at a hot guy," Denver coach George Karl said. "It seemed like he had more rhythm with his jumper. I know he likes to play in this building. I don't know if he's ever had a bad game in this building."

    For good measure, Anthony found Nene for a powerful clinching dunk that made it 116-109 with 1:05 to go. Anthony shot 13-of-19 and added nine rebounds.

    "He was really hot. It's good to have him back," Denver guard Chauncey Billups said. "They never doubled him and if they would have, he's grown to the player that was going to make the next play, make the pass."

    J.R. Smith added 16 points and Billups 14 for the Nuggets, who shot 57 percent from the field in the opener of a four-game road trip.

    Nate Robinson scored 20 points on just 5-of-17 shooting and David Lee had 19 for the Knicks, who have yielded an average of 115.5 points during their skid. They came in allowing teams to shoot 48.3 percent, highest in the NBA, and even Mike D'Antoni's high-scoring offense can't overcome that.

    "We've got to play defense. There's no doubt about it. I know I joke around a lot about it, but the only way we're going to win is to get better at it," D'Antoni said. "I've always felt like we're going to score no matter what. I don't care who's on the floor, we're going to score. So now we've just got to find a way how to stop people."

    Chris Duhon had 17 points and 11 assists for the Knicks, while Wilson Chandler also scored 17 points but shot only 6-of-19.

    "I think we ended up taking bad shots at the end of the game," Duhon said. "Tough shots with our shot clock winding down. You can't beat a good team that way."

    Seeking to change things up, D'Antoni tinkered with his starting lineup. He benched Al Harrington, who was averaging 22.9 points in 15 games since the Knicks acquired him from Golden State in November, and gave Jared Jeffries, a better defender with poor offensive instincts, his first start of the season.

    The move did little to solve New York's defensive woes. The game was tied at 43 midway through the second quarter before Denver began getting to the basket at will.

    Lee slapped the backboard stanchion in frustration after one blown defensive sequence led to Nene's dunk, but that failed to provide a spark -- Denver scored on Anthony's slam on its next time down the floor to cap a 16-4 spurt and open a 59-47 lead with 2:03 left in the half.

    The Nuggets led 66-56 at the break, with 42 points in the paint.

    New York shot 60 percent in the third quarter, charging back to grab an 89-88 lead on Robinson's 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining, about the time a disgusted Kenyon Martin began cursing from the Nuggets' bench about letting the Knicks hang around.

    Smith threw in a long 3-pointer as time expired to give Denver a 93-89 lead entering the final quarter.

    Game notes


    Denver's Renaldo Balkman received respectful applause when he entered in the first quarter. He was a surprising first-round pick by the Knicks in 2006 who became somewhat of a fan favorite for his energetic play before being dealt to the Nuggets last summer. He finished with nine points. ... Quentin Richardson came off the bench for the Knicks after missing Friday's loss to Minnesota with a sprained right ankle.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DEN
    NY
    Points 117 110
    FGM-FGA 45-79 (.570) 38-85 (.447)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 12-35 (.343)
    FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 22-31 (.710)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-48 11-36
    Assists 16 25
    Turnovers 15 11
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 1 1
    Fast Break Points 10 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 12 8

    Top Performers

    Denver
    New York
    Carmelo Anthony Anthony
    Points: 32
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Chris Duhon Duhon
    Points: 17
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 11
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1