DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony was back to normal, and the Miami
Heat paid for it.
"I had some energy and it showed tonight," said Anthony, who
two days earlier had been badly outplayed by LeBron James. "The
loss to Cleveland gave us energy and we showed this wasn't the same
team that lost."
"We were dogging against them, two steps back, two steps slower
than Cleveland," Anthony said. "This time we were on fire from
the beginning and we came out focused from the beginning to the
Anthony shot 12-for-19 with five assists and four steals, Earl
Boykins added 16 points, six assists and five steals, and Kenyon
Martin had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The Nuggets
used an uptempo attack that scored 28 points off 26 Miami
"Our team came out and pushed the ball and consistently ran the
ball," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Our double-teams were
also very effective against Shaq."
"We didn't come out and have a lot of energy and match the
other team's energy," O'Neal said. "We didn't have any in the
first half. We had way too many turnovers and they had a lot of
fast breaks and a lot of dunks."
Denver took a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter but had it
cut to 83-78 after Eddie Jones' 3-pointer and a dunk by O'Neal.
Anthony blocked Jones' layup and followed with a jumper to start a
9-0 run for a 92-78 lead with 4:13 remaining.
O'Neal scored seven points early in the third quarter,
converting a three-point play to get Miami within 66-61, but Nene
had a three-point play of his own. A 3-pointer by Greg Buckner and
a three-point play by Francisco Elson in the last three minutes
made it 79-67 at the end of the third quarter.
Using pressure defense to turn four turnovers into layups,
Denver led 50-34 on Earl Boykins' layup six minutes into the second
quarter. After O'Neal left with his third foul early in the period,
Michael Doleac scored eight points and Christian Laettner four to
pull the Heat to 56-48 at the break.
"Their layups in the first half are inexcusable." Miami coach
Stan Van Gundy said. "We came out in cruise control mode, not
understanding that a team that got killed the other night would
want to come out and play."
The Nuggets shot 75 percent and shot 9-of-13 on free throws in
the first quarter. Anthony hit his first four shots as Denver led
"I don't know why we play so badly one night and so well the
next," Boykins said. "I don't know."
Stan Van Gundy coached his 100th game. ... The Heat are 3-1
on the second night of back-to-back games. ... Jones limped into
the lockerroom in the last minute of the first half, but returned
in the second half. ... The Nuggets had scored less than 90 points
in four previous games. ... Martin missed the morning shootaround
with sore back, but played. Martin pounded his chest after a dunk