Carmelo Anthony unleashed 33 points and 11 rebounds on the Houston Rockets as the Denver Nuggets slid to a 113-106 home victory. 'Melo shot 10-25 from the floor, but hit 13-14 from the line to buoy his total. The Rockets took 24 points on 10-19 shooting from Luis Scola, but only got eight points out of star two-guard Kevin Martin, who shot 3-15 and managed just one free throw attempt.
For Martin, it was the first time all season he didn't break into double-digits in scoring. It was also the first team since last April he had as few as one FTA. On the season, Martin has hit more free throws than anyone (250), and is fifth in attempts (279). He averages 8.2 FTAs a game.
'Melo averages 8.3, and repeatedly earned his trips on Monday. His center Nene was, as is typical, excellent with 16 points on 5-9 shooting and 11 rebounds. Arron Afflalo, the team's designated wing defender, also shot well for a change (15 points on 5-7) and six Nuggets in total scored in double figures.
The injury to Chuck Hayes has resulted in rookie Patrick Patterson seeing extended action for the first time as a pro. Patterson had six points, three rebounds and a surprisingly three blocks off the bench. He's still behind Scola, Jordan Hill and Brad Miller, but it's progress.
Andrew Feinstein of Denver Stiffs finds it difficult to root on the Nuggets with full commitment given that the team could be blown up at any minute.
I feel like I'm being teased into getting emotionally invested with a team that ultimately won't look as it does today. So while I'd love to have visions of a Western Conference Finals appearance dancing in my head when I go to sleep later, such a notion is nothing short of a mirage.
The Dream Shake is concerned that Hill hasn't been able to leverage the opportunity presented by Hayes' injury into results.