Anthony’s 35 Lift Nuggets Past Wolves
Posted Dec 2 2006 1:15AM
Denver 106, Minnesota 92
Anthony had 35 points, Najera and Evans outworked Minnesota's post players for 27 rebounds - 16 on the offensive end - and the Nuggets beat the Timberwolves 106-92.
``Those are commitment things, those are heart things, those are gut things,'' coach George Karl said. ``Our confidence came from the energy they gave us and the extra effort they gave us.''
Najera had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and all five starters scored in double figures for the Nuggets, who have won nine of the last 11 games after starting the season 0-3. Denver outrebounded Minnesota 52-40, led by Evans' 16 boards.
The all-around effort followed two days of practice that, according to a few Denver players, was very intense and focused on defense.
``He was at us, real aggressive and real tough,'' Evans said of Karl. ``He was on our necks and it showed today.''
Added Anthony: ``We went hard for the last couple of days and I think it paid off for us.''
Anthony scored at least 30 points for the 11th time in the last 12 games.
``You are seeing one of the best offensive players I have ever coached,'' Karl said. ``The game is so easy for him in so many different places.''
Kevin Garnett had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Ricky Davis also had 21 points for Minnesota, which has lost three straight. Minnesota shot just 44 percent from the field, falling to 0-6 when shooting under 45 percent.
``We didn't bring it,'' coach Dwane Casey said. ``We had two days of spirited practice and we didn't have it in the game tonight.''
Anthony scored 11 points in the third quarter when the Nuggets pulled away, doubling their halftime lead from 56-45 to 89-67. Anthony scored from the inside and the outside, attacking the rim and Garnett on one play for a basket and then hitting a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Denver the 22-point lead.
Minnesota missed 14 of 23 shots in the quarter. The Wolves did not get closer than 13 the rest of the way.
``It isn't about what you do in practice, it is about what you do in games,'' Wolves guard Mike James said. ``We came out like they always say: flat.''
Andre Milleradded nine rebounds to go with 17 points.
The Nuggets opened up a double-digit lead in the second, highlighted by one of the most unlikely baskets of the season. With 6:20 left in the quarter, J.R. Smith raced to the baseline to save a loose ball and instead of trying to put the ball in play, he shot it while jumping out of bounds, swishing the 3-pointer to put Denver up 43-31.
``I thought he (the referee) was going to call a foul so I just threw it up,'' Smith said.
Denver led the entire opening quarter and was up 28-20 with 1:47 left before the Wolves closed the first with five straight points, including Marko Jaric's bank shot from halfcourt at the buzzer.
Notes: When asked if he was overlooked for player of the month honors that went to Yao Ming, Anthony replied, ``I might've.'' ... Denver improved to 9-2 when scoring at least 100 points. The Nuggets have yet to score less than 96. ... Garnett reached double figures for the 337th consecutive game, the ninth-longest streak in history. He's one game away from tying his own record (338), set between October 1997 and February 2002. ... Joe Smith missed the game with a sprained right ankle and is day-to-day.
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