Nuggets blow out Golden State
DENVER – Stunned and angered by an embarrassing loss, the Denver Nuggets lit up the scoreboard the next time out and there was next to nothing the short-handed Golden State Warriors could do about it.
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points, Chauncey Billups had 22 and the Nuggets used their biggest scoring first half of the season to rout the Warriors 135-107 Tuesday night.
Nene (18 points) and Chris Andersen (14) were among seven Denver players scoring in double figures. They helped the Nuggets finish with a season high for points and rebound emphatically from Sunday’s loss to Minnesota, which had entered with one win on the season. The Timberwolves snapped their 15-game losing streak at Denver’s expense while putting an end to the Nuggets’ 17-game home-winning streak.
“I think everybody was mad,” Anthony said. “When you lose a game like that against Minnesota, the way we lost, negativity comes around. Tonight, we did a good job of keeping that out of the locker room.”
Nuggets coach George Karl lambasted his team for what he regarded as a lackluster effort in the Minnesota loss and he was asked after the victory against Golden State if his message had gotten through.
“I think lesson put behind us,” Karl said. “We’re OK and December is here and let’s worry about December and forget about Minnesota.”
The Nuggets, who made it to the Western Conference finals last season, had a season-low for points in a quarter (12), blew their biggest lead of the season (17 in the first half) and were held to a season-low for points at home (100) in the loss to Minnesota. Those numbers are in the rear view mirror now.
“That’s what’s great about the NBA,” Billups said. “The next night, the same thing can happen and you can show that you learn from your mistakes. We came out up 14 at the start of the third and we said, ‘Let’s try to put them away this time, not just talk about it. Let’s do it,’ and I was proud of us for that.”
It was the 11th win in the Nuggets’ last 12 games at the Pepsi Center against the injury-depleted Warriors, who used only eight players in the game. Golden State split back-to-back games that began in Oakland with Monday night’s 126-107 win over Indiana.
Anthony Morrow had 27 points to lead the Warriors. Vladimir Radmanovic added a season-high 17 for the Warriors, who fell to 2-8 on the road.
“We tried hard,” Warriors acting head coach Keith Smart said. “We played hard for a quarter and a half and then we just couldn’t compete. We just didn’t have enough tonight.”
The Warriors have had to play short-handed for significant stretches of the season because of injuries.
“We’re kind of used to it by now,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “Our bodies are trying to get adjusted to playing heavy minutes, trying to play hard the whole game. It would be nice to have some healthy bodies but that’s what we have to deal with right now. We’ve got to go out there and try to be competitive. That’s our goal.”
Up by 14 at halftime, the Nuggets extended their lead to 107-84 by the end of the third quarter, closing the period with a flourish on successive dunks by Andersen. The Warriors didn’t get close enough to threaten the rest of the way.
Down by eight after Monta Ellis’ three-point play late in the first quarter, the Nuggets gained control with a second-quarter surge that saw them match a season high for points in a quarter (44) and a season high for points in the first half en route to a 69-55 lead at halftime.
They used a 10-2 spree capped by Anthony’s 18-foot jumper to regain the lead 39-33, and later put together a 12-0 run punctuated by Anthony’s three-point play to go up 60-42 with 3:10 left in the second quarter.
On the verge of getting blown out in the first half after Billups hit a 3-pointer that put the Nuggets up 67-45 with 1:36 left in the second, the Warriors closed the period by outscoring the Nuggets 10-2, including successive 3-pointers by Ellis and Stephen Curry to narrow the Nuggets’ lead to 14 at the break.
NOTES: The Nuggets’ previous game high was 133 points against Memphis on Nov. 1. The previous first-half high for points was 67, also against Memphis. They equaled their third-quarter points production of 44 at New Jersey on Nov. 4. … Anthony remains the only NBA player to have scored at least 20 points in every game this season. … The Warriors fell to 2-8 against teams with a winning record.
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