Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/16

Game 1: Wednesday, February 16th
Nuggets88Final
Bobcats94
Game 2: Wednesday, March 16th
Bobcats101Final
Nuggets120

Bobcats 101

(12-50, 2-29 away)

Nuggets 120

(33-30, 20-10 home)

    Coverage: ALT

    7:00 PM ET, March 16, 2005

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 17 30 31 23101
    DEN 29 33 32 26120

    Top Performers

    Cha: K. Bogans 19 Pts, 1 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Den: C. Anthony 25 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Anthony makes swift work of Bobcats

    DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony watched the end of the game from the bench for all the right reasons.

    Anthony scored 25 points in just 21 minutes Wednesday night to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 120-101 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

    The second-year star, who spent the final 17 minutes of Sunday's loss to Phoenix on the bench, spent the final 14 minutes watching this one -- but it wasn't because he was having a bad game. Rather, he went 10-for-16 to help Denver put the game out of reach early.

    "Something to prove? No. When you try to prove something to somebody, it never works," Anthony said. "I just wanted to go out, play basketball, continue doing what I was doing."

    As a result, Denver had its best night of offense this season. The Nuggets shot 54 percent and hit the 120-point mark for the first time. They also finished with 40 assists -- the highest total in the NBA this season.

    "It goes to show that, as a team, we're capable of doing that -- sharing the ball," Anthony said. "When we want to be unselfish, we can be unselfish."

    Keith Bogans had 19 points and Emeka Okafor had 17 points and eight rebounds for Charlotte, which played the first of a three-game Western road swing. Seven of the expansion Bobcats' 12 wins this season have come against teams from the Western Conference, including a 94-88 win over Denver last month.

    "They held serve," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "I can't come up with any reason that we should have won the game. They hurt us in every aspect of the game. It didn't matter what we did or showed defensively."

    Indeed, it was one of those nights for Denver. So good, in fact, that 12th man and fan favorite Mark Pope got off the bench and scored one basket -- his first points of the season -- in his five minutes.

    Francisco Elson had 14 points and Earl Boykins added 10 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets, who pulled a full game ahead of the Lakers in the race for the final playoff spot in the West. This was the second of a seven-game homestand for the Nuggets, who had their eight-game winning streak -- the longest in 17 seasons -- snapped by the Suns.

    Anthony watched the end of that one from the bench, a decision he said he didn't understand. Both he and coach George Karl spent the next two days insisting it wasn't a big deal. Karl contended that Anthony had actually been playing well of late, and Anthony came out against the Bobcats and proved him right.

    Working hard to get open in the post and on the perimeter, Anthony worked within the offense, and didn't cause it to bog down, the way it has at times when he's on the floor. He was at his versatile best early in the third quarter, when he made a 4-foot turnaround, a tip-in off a rebound and forced a shot in over 7-foot-1 Primoz Brezec to help the Nuggets keep their lead in double digits.

    "Tonight's game, we thought we had a good matchup early" with Anthony, Karl said. "I just want him to learn to get ... half his shots in the rhythm of the game, making good reads, and I think he's getting better at that."

    Charlotte pulled to 90-78 late in the third quarter, but Boykins sandwiched two long jumpers around Elson's dunk to give Denver a 100-79 lead, and the only suspense over the final 10 minutes was whether Denver would reach the 120 mark. DerMarr Johnson made two free throws in the last minute to put the Nuggets right on the number.

    The Nuggets played without Kenyon Martin, whose left knee is hurting, but Marcus Camby came back from his hamstring injury and finished with seven points and 12 rebounds. Martin said he wasn't sure if he would play Friday, when the Nuggets host the Clippers.

    Game notes


    The Bobcats used their sixth different starting lineup in March. ... Denver scored 100 points for the third straight time at home. The Nuggets also had season highs in 3-pointers (10), field goals made (46) and fast-break points (38). ... After the game, Anthony hung out with 13-year-old Brendson Johnson, who won an essay contest inspired by Anthony's autobiography, "It's Just the Beginning."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Team Stat Comparison

     
    CHA
    DEN
    Points 101 120
    FGM-FGA 38-87 (.437) 46-85 (.541)
    3PM-3PA 9-18 (.500) 10-24 (.417)
    FTM-FTA 16-26 (.615) 18-26 (.692)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-37 13-47
    Assists 27 40
    Turnovers 13 13
    Steals 9 9
    Blocks 7 10
    Fast Break Points 10 38
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 28

    Top Performers

    Charlotte
    Denver
    Keith Bogans Bogans
    Points: 19
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Carmelo Anthony Anthony
    Points: 25
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2