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News » NUGGETS Seems like January for Melo Anthony is in midseason form in getting to the charity stripe and scoring as Denver clobbers


NUGGETS Seems like January for Melo Anthony is in midseason form in getting to the charity stripe and scoring as Denver clobbers


NUGGETS Seems like January for Melo Anthony is in midseason form in getting to the charity stripe and scoring as Denver clobbersCarmelo Anthony, as seen in Tuesday's preseason win against Minnesota, can splash fadeaway jumpers with a defender up his jersey. He can slice and dice through the lane like an infomercial product, banging in a layup amid trees. He can win a footrace in transition, rewarded with a breakaway dunk that can break spirits.

But arguably his most important shot? The scintillating, breathtaking free throw.

"It can be a weapon," Anthony said after Tuesday's 129-100 win at the Pepsi Center. "I'm trying to attack the rim, get in that mode and mind-

set - whether they call a foul or not. I'm not trying to give George (Karl) any reasons to say we're not going to the hole. It's something I'm making a conscious effort with."

Yes, it's the preseason. Yes, they're with replacement refs. Yes, it was against Minnesota. But Melo scored a game-high 24 points in just 23 minutes, while shooting 7-for-8 from the line. When he called it a night in the third quarter, the entire Timberwolves team was just 9-for-12.

"He has a lot of matchups that he has power on," Karl said of the career 79.6 percent free-throw shooter. "And then some matchups, if they play big on him, he has the quickness. He has both abilities to go either way."

Melo is a weapon of mass production. Last season, he got to the line 7.1 times per game, which was ninth in the NBA and sixth among non-

post players. Already this preseason, he has logged games in which he was 7-for-10, 7-for-11 and 16-for-17, all in which he played just 20-something minutes. Last season, he averaged 34.5 minutes.

This free-throw thing - it's pretty important. In recent seasons, the Nuggets have built their offense on fast-paced play, which means attacking the rim, which means getting to the line. Last season, when Denver won 54 games, the Nuggets led the NBA with 2,487 free-throws attempted, and they were second with 1,891 made. And for a player like Anthony, who thrives on scoring, he can sometimes steal points at the line on nights when he's not getting the points on the floor.

"He's a creator," teammate Renaldo Balkman said. "You've got to recognize a creator."

This preseason, Anthony leads the entire NBA in scoring (22.8 points), while averaging 48.1 points per 48 minutes. That's not bad.

Footnotes. The Nuggets waived preseason invitees Kurt Looby and Dontaye Draper, Looby said after the game. ? James White, who was expected to battle Joey Graham for a roster spot, didn't play again in Tuesday's game. White admitted that it has been frustrating, but said he has not yet been waived. He has a nonguaranteed contract. ? Center Chris Andersen had been struggling, but he had 11 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes against the woebegone Timberwolves. ? Balkman sat out the previous preseason game because of a right groin injury, but Tuesday he scored 14 points - on 7-of-8 shooting - in 18 minutes. "I just wanted to play hard," he said. "I'm working even harder to get back in shape."

Benjamin Hochman: 303-954-1294 or bhochman@denverpost.com

MINNESOTA (100)

Wilkins 1-7 0-0 2, Gomes 6-11 3-4 16, Pecherov 1-9 1-2 4, Flynn 4-7 4-4 13, Brewer 7-17 7-10 23, Cardinal 3-6 0-0 6, Hollins 4-8 0-2 8, Pavlovic 2-6 2-2 8, Sessions 1-7 2-2 4, Ellington 5-8 0-0 12, Reiner 1-3 0-0 2, Hart 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 36-91 19-26 100.

DENVER (129)

Anthony 8-13 7-8 24, Martin 5-7 1-1 11, Nene 2-4 4-8 8, Billups 2-5 0-0 4, Graham 3-7 0-0 6, Smith 4-8 1-1 11, Andersen 4-5 3-6 11, Lawson 4-9 1-2 10, Afflalo 5-9 7-8 20, Balkman 7-8 0-1 14, Allen 2-4 2-3 6, Petro 1-1 2-4 4. Totals 47-80 28-42 129.

Minnesota 28....19....27....26....-....100

Denver 31....38....28....32....-....129

3-point goals - Minnesota 9-23 (Ellington 2-3, Brewer 2-4, Pavlovic 2-5, Pecherov 1-1, Gomes 1-3, Flynn 1-3, Sessions 0-1, Wilkins 0-1, Cardinal 0-2), Denver 7-19 (Afflalo 3-5, Smith 2-5, Anthony 1-1, Lawson 1-3, Allen 0-1, Graham 0-1, Billups 0-3). Fouled out - None. Rebounds - Minnesota 45 (Gomes 8), Denver 64 (Andersen 8). Assists - Minnesota 17 (Sessions, Brewer 3), Denver 34 (Lawson 8). Total fouls - Minnesota 31, Denver 25. Technical foul - Cardinal. A - 11,228 (19,155).


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 22, 2009

 

 
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