Anthony’s 40 Points Lift Nuggets Past Heat
Denver 100, Miami 92
MIAMI, Dec. 9 (Ticker) -- While two of the premier talents from the loaded 2003 draft put on a show, it was ultimately a pair of unheralded players who made the difference down the stretch.
Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 40 points and Marcus Camby and Andre Miller sparked a game-ending 10-0 run to lift the Denver Nuggets to a 100-92 victory over the Miami Heat, who wasted another superb effort from Dwyane Wade.
The 2003 draft, considered by many to be the most talented since 1996, produced Cleveland superstar LeBron James and several other emerging stars, including Toronto's Chris Bosh and Chicago's Kirk Hinrich.
"Great game," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Two great players. It was a Dwyane Wade-Carmelo Anthony show."
"It was definitely fun to watch," Camby said. "Both those guys going at each other, trading baskets. 'Melo was spectacular."
Anthony, who shot 13-of-30 from the floor and 13-of-14 from the line, resorted to his trademark fun-loving attitude following the exciting contest, which included 23 lead changes and 16 ties.
"It's fun competition out there," Anthony said. "Him doing what he was doing, and me doing what I was doing. At the end of the day, it's all fun and games."
Wade also acknowledged the outstanding performance of Anthony, who fell one point shy of matching a career high.
"Carmelo was on tonight," Wade said. "I'm sure for basketball and for the fans, it was good to see me and 'Melo put up the points. It was both of us trying to do what we can to help our team win."
But down the stretch, the story was Miller and Camby, a pair of former lottery picks who continue to thrive under Karl's system that stresses defense and unselfishness.
After Udonis Haslem made a free throw to give Miami a 92-88 lead with 2:01 remaining, Anthony responded with two free throws and Miller found Camby for a 14-foot jumper to tie it with 48 seconds remaining.
"When we went down four, we kept playing," Karl said. "Fortunately, we figured out how to make Dwyane Wade miss a shot."
Antoine Walker missed a 3-pointer on the Heat's ensuing possession. Miller grabbed the rebound and unleashed a long outlet pass to Greg Buckner for an easy layup.
"You lose on a run-out, especially when it's been a point of emphasis for us for a long time - and was a huge point of emphasis today - you deserve to lose and you show your experience is worthless," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I don't feel any sympathy for myself. I don't feel any sympathy for them."
Camby forced a turnover on Miami's next trip, and Anthony, Miller and Camby each made 2-of-2 from the line in the final 14 seconds to seal Denver's third straight victory.
Camby had another strong game with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Miller added 12 and eight assists for Denver, which made 31-of-35 free throws, including a sensational 16-of-16 in the final period.
"Guys were real focused tonight," said Camby, who made 6-of-6 from the line. "We know how important this trip is, especially the first game. I think it sets the tone for the rest of the trip."
Wade made making 10-of-23 shots and 17-of-21 free throws. Walker chipped in 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Heat, who dropped their fourth straight game.
"It was a bad loss," said Miami guard Gary Payton, who scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. "The breaks didn't go our way. We didn't make some shots and the ball bounced wrong."
Camby hit two free throws with 7:14 left to give Denver a 77-76 lead before Anthony converted a three-point play and Buckner made a 3-pointer for an 83-79 advantage with 5:03 left.
After a runner by Wade, Payton drilled consecutive 3-pointers with under 4 1/2 minutes remaining to give the Heat an 87-85 advantage with 3:31 to go. But Miller drove the lane on Denver's next trip and converted a three-point play to regain the lead.
"There are 62 games left," Wade said. "We're not down on ourselves. We're going to continue to come in and get better. Maybe throughout the season, those games will turn around and go in our favor."