NEW YORK – A year after losing a thrilling double-overtime contest to the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony found the resolve to scorch his former team, scoring a game-high 34 points in a 112-106 victory for the New York Knicks.
After missing two games with a laceration on his third left finger, Anthony returned in triumphant form, scoring six straight points with 3:08 remaining in the final quarter to keep the Nuggets from cutting the deficit any closer than four points at 108-104.
“Once he started to hit [shots], he just wouldn’t stop,” said second-year Denver forward Kenneth Faried on Anthony’s fourth quarter run.Denver appeared poised for a breakout win, out-shooting the Knicks by a margin of 55.6-43 percent for the game, while also controlling the paint, where Faried and center Kosta Koufus operated untouched by New York defenders for a combined 18 points. Denver would score more than half of their points  on the Knicks’ orange rectangle, as New York struggled to get much of anything going on in the post, putting up 32 of their 112 points down low.
“In the fourth quarter, we ran out of gas a little bit, but I thought our offense was as bad as our defense,” said Denver head coach George Karl, adding, “We lost the penetration, and lost the ability to get the easy basket. I tell the team all the time, I don’t mind losing to a good team, but we lose because we give them things, we give them gifts.”
These gifts included 22 points for New York off of 16 Denver turnovers and 22 points on the offensive glass where the Nuggets were out-rebounded 13-5 for the game.
Denver point guard Ty Lawson was a major player in the Nuggets rim attack in which Denver ran the court for 25 fast-break points, and finished the evening with 23 points and six assists.
Former Knickerbocker and first round draft choice Danilo Gallinari, who previously burned New York for 37 points in last year’s meeting was one rebound shy of a double-double with 21 points and nine boards.
It was Gallinari who spent considerable time guarding Melo, and each player would be called for not only personal fouls on each other, but technical’s as well.
A physical game throughout was exemplified by the play of Knicks’ guard Jason Kidd [17 points, seven assists, four rebounds] who was hard hit by both JaVele MccGee and Lawson on head fakes in the first half and shot with a New York Rangers helmet during the intermission warmups.
“Scouting report says I can’t shoot, so I don’t know why they fall for the fakes,” said Kidd almost half-jokingly on the barrage of hits he took when trying to fake-out his would be defenders.
All kidding aside, it was the Knicks who found their go-to-guy in the waning moments in Anthony who made first a tip-in, followed by a step back jumper before finally driving the lane for a layup in the span of one and a half minutes to keep New York the only undefeated team at home in 2012 at 6-0.
“He has been amazing throughout the entire season,” remarked Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler [15 points, 12 rebounds] on Anthony’s late game heroics. “Tonight was no different. He is playing at an MVP level right now.”
At 15-5 the Knicks are atop the Eastern Conference, and look forward for a chance to avenge an early loss to their borough buddies in Brooklyn when they visit the Nets at the Barclays Center this Tuesday.