Camby Leads Nuggets to Rout in Karl’s Return
Denver 107, Portland 68
DENVER, Nov. 4 (Ticker) -- In keeping with a theme established last season, the Denver Nuggets responded very well to the arrival of coach George Karl.
With Karl on the sidelines for the first time this season, Marcus Camby scored 23 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to pace the Nuggets to a 107-68 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers.
He was forced to serve a two-game suspension to start this season after appearing at an offseason workout involving high school players not eligible for the draft.
Those two games were difficult for the Nuggets, to say the least. In a season-opening loss at San Antonio on Tuesday, Denver lost power forward Nene for the season with a torn right ACL and suffered an overtime loss in its home opener Wednesday when Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant buried a jumper with less than a second to go.
With their coach back, the Nuggets never were threatened, taking a lead on Kenyon Martin's basket nine seconds in and leading throughout. One of the few bright spots through the first two games, Camby had 14 points and nine rebounds to help Denver to a 50-36 halftime lead.
"Our team responded with great pride," Karl said. "The energy was better tonight. That Laker game was a tough one to swallow because we should have won it."
Camby collected his second straight double-double and is averaging 14.0 rebounds through his first three games.
"It felt good to get a win," Camby said. "Our guys were clicking on all cylinders. Every day, (Karl) was on our backs when we saw him. His presence was definitely felt tonight. We brought a more energized focus to the ballgame."
The Nuggets led by as many as 23 points on more than one occasion in the third quarter and settled for a 20-point lead heading into the fourth on Earl Boykins' jumper in the closing seconds.
The lead reached 25 on a basket by Francisco Elson early in the fourth quarter. Karl went deep into his bench not long after Camby's fast-break dunk made it 86-65 with 7:37 left.
Martin left after banging his right knee midway through the final period. Denver's bench, fueled by newcomer Earl Watson, finished the game on a 23-3 run. Watson, who sat through the Nuggets' first two games, scored five points and had two assists in six minutes.
"Kenyon doesn't have much luck right now, he gets hit almost every night," Karl said. "In the NBA, you are always hurt. No one is going to be feeling great. I hope he's be ready to go (Sunday against the Lakers)."
Voshon Lenard flirted with a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Denver, which has won four straight and eight out of its last nine against Portland.
"The most important thing is we got a win," Lenard said. "We got the monkey off our back and redeemed ourselves. I don't focus on what I do individually. If we lose, then I care about what I do personally."
Portland shot 33 percent (29-of-87) from the field and 35 percent (7-of-20) from the line as it dropped to 0-2.
"It was an easy night for the Nuggets," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "I know we can play better than that. We need to be more bothered by the defensive breakdowns as opposed to the misses on the offensive end of the floor."
Darius Miles scored 32 points for Portland in a loss at Minnesota on Wednesday but was held to 13 and had five of the Trail Blazers' 18 turnovers in this one.
"We got embarrassed and I hate getting embarrassed," Miles said. "Denver just kept hitting all their shots."
The Nuggets shot 51 percent (47-of-93) from the floor and made 4-of-12 3-pointers after hitting only 2-of-19 from the arc through their first two games.