Anthony had 23 points, six rebounds and five assists in his best
showing of a young season, leading the Nuggets to a 109-88 win over
the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
Anthony, who shot 9-for-29 in his first two games, was 9-for-14.
"I was edgy my first two games just to get out there and start
my career," said Anthony, the No. 3 pick overall in the NBA draft
who led Syracuse to the NCAA championship as a freshman last
spring. "You saw me settle down more than I did the first two
Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said his prize rookie "is doing
great. Let's face it, he's a young man. There is a lot of pressure.
Opening night it was (San Antonio's) Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan
(defending him). The next night, Houston had the long arms and is
very athletic. He's playing great."
Voshon Lenard had 15 points, and Chris Andersen and Rodney White
came off the bench to score 12 apiece for the Nuggets, who placed
seven players in double figures. Andersen also had 11 rebounds for
his first career double-double. Marcus Camby had 10 points and 12
Denver, 17-65 a year ago, has now beaten two of the NBA's best
teams. The Nuggets defeated the defending champion Spurs on
Denver pushed the pace, getting a number of fast-break baskets
and easy layups.
"We had the tempo the way we wanted it," Bzdelik said. "It
was a great win against a great opponent."
Sacramento shot just 36 percent compared to Denver's 49 percent.
"They outplayed us, they outhustled us, they wanted it," Kings
coach Rick Adelman said. "They took it to us in every phase of the
game. They were pushing it up the court and being very aggressive.
"We played at a frantic pace instead of the way we wanted to
play. We quick-shot it, we turned it over -- we just fueled whatever
they were trying to do. We have to be a smarter team than that."
Asked to compare Anthony with Cleveland's LeBron James, whom the
Kings played Wednesday, Adelman said, "They are both very good
young players with skills. No matter what their age is, if they are
talented and they have some confidence, they are going to do well.
"Anthony struggled the first two games, but he got it going
tonight. That's going to be the big thing -- when they have the
bumps in the road, how they keep it going. It helps Anthony the way
the Nuggets play. He can be a little freewheeling."
The Nuggets, leading 87-78 after three quarters, scored the
first five points of the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer by
Earl Boykins' rebound basket made it 98-81, and Boykins' driving
layup and Lenard's jumper put the Nuggets up 102-83 with 4:58 left.
Anthony added a three-point play with 3:27 to go.
The Kings scored just 10 points in the final period on 4-of-21
Anthony scored eight points in the first quarter and the Nuggets
used runs of 9-2 and 10-2 to jump out to a 34-25 lead.
The Nuggets led 66-55 at intermission.
Nene's three-point play pushed the lead back to 12 points early
in the third quarter.
Sacramento trimmed the deficit to 76-68 midway through the
period on layups by Doug Christie and Stojakovic. But Denver
responded with a 12-4 flurry, including back-to-back slam dunks by
Anthony and Francisco Elson, for an 87-72 lead with 2:31 left in
The Kings scored the last six points of the quarter, including
four by Gerald Wallace, to make it 87-78.
Sacramento's Chris Webber (knee) and Lawrence Funderburke
(Achilles' tendon) remain on the injured list following surgery.
... The win snapped Denver's eight-game losing streak to
Sacramento. ... Andersen had seven blocked shots, a career high.
His previous best was five, on April 9, 2002, at Memphis. ...
Denver's bench outscored Sacramento's bench 46-26.