The Denver Nuggets cruised to a surprisingly easy 130-112 win over the Toronto Raptors last night at the Pepsi Center. The first half was a classic slug fest, with both teams scoring in bunches and finishing knotted at 64. But the Nuggets turned on the defense and the offensive power in the second half, led by Carmelo Anthony’s 32 points (via The Denver Post).
Anthony is one of the NBA’s best players and a possible MVP candidate, notes the Los Angeles Times. He’s third in the NBA in scoring at nearly 30 points per game, having six games with 30 or more points and two 40-plus-point nights.
Anthony has to remind the media and Denver fans, who have known him for years, that he’s just 25 years old and is just getting started in terms of learning what it takes to continually perform at an advanced level. He’s led the Nuggets to an impressive 8-3 record, despite the team playing without J.R. Smith for seven games while he served a suspension, and, as InDenverTimes notes, despite four sets of back-to-backs.
It helps that Melo’s surrounded by talent, including rookie point guard Ty Lawson, who’s averaging more than 10 points per game and has logged more than three assists in his first handful of games at the pro level.
The Canadian Press points out that Lawson’s transition to the NBA has forced coach George Karl to give him quality playing time, something Karl is typically loathe to do for rookies. Karl says Lawson makes the Nuggets even better than last season, when they took the Los Angeles Lakers to six games in the Western Conference finals.