Carmelo Anthony insists there’s no grudge against the Denver Nuggets. He just did not want his old team – or anybody else – walking into his current home and leaving with a victory.
Anthony returned from a 2-game absence with 34 points against his former team, and the Knicks beat the Nuggets 112-106 on Sunday night to remain the NBA’s lone unbeaten team at home.
Back in the starting lineup after missing 2 games with a cut on the middle finger of his left hand that required stitches, Anthony twice made baskets in the last 2:08 after Nuggets had pulled within 4 points.
”I don’t have no hard feelings toward Denver. It was just one of them games that no matter how many runs we went on, they just wasn’t going anywhere,” Anthony said.
”It was just a matter of us and me not wanting to lose on our home court, protecting our home court. That’s something that we always said and we believed in. So there came a point in time in that fourth quarter where it was called upon me to step up.”
Jason Kidd scored 17 points for the Knicks, who bounced back from their worst offensive performance of the season a night earlier in Chicago and improved to 8-0 at Madison Square Garden. Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith each had 15 points.
It is the Knicks’ best start at home since beginning 9-0 in 1992-93.
Ty Lawson had 23 points and Danilo Gallinari had 21 points and 9 rebounds against the team that drafted him and later dealt him in the package for Anthony in February 2011. Vegas odds
Anthony decided to play after working out before the game, shooting 10 of 24 while adjusting to playing with the finger covered. He beat the Nuggets for the 1st time after the Knicks dropped a double-overtime game here last season.
And regardless of what Anthony asserted, Chandler recounted players never stop wanting to beat their old team.
”You always want to show them what they’re missing and I believe they saw tonight,” Chandler claimed.
Corey Brewer made the 1st 2 baskets of the 4th to give Denver an 88-80 lead, but the New York Knicks came right back with consecutive 3-pointers by Steve Novak and a dunk by Chandler to tie it. Ronnie Brewer scored the next 4 points toward make it a 12-0 run, and after a basket by Kenneth Faried, Anthony made a jumper and a 3-pointer as the Knicks opened a 97-90 advantage.
Denver from there could get it down as near as 4, Anthony nailing a jumper once and driving into the lane for another basket to keep the Nuggets away.
”Tonight we let one player get hot, Melo, and after he started hitting he was unstoppable,” Faried declared.
Anthony spent the first 71/2 years of his career with the Nuggets, telling them in the 2010 offseason he wanted out. He and Karl clashed at times during their time together, but Karl predicted their relationship would be fine someday and claimed he hasn’t backed away from his belief that Anthony will at last get to the top of basketball.