DENVER (AP) – Before this season, rumors swirled that Carmelo Anthony might soon join the New York Knicks. Having lost five in a row, the Knicks are perhaps hoping they could have already pulled off that trade.
New York will try to snap that drought Tuesday night when it travels to face Anthony and the Denver Nuggets.
Having refused to accept a three-year contract extension with Denver since June, Anthony has been rumored to be headed toward New Jersey and then New York after the All-Star forward told the Nuggets he wasn’t going to change his mind about re-signing.
Adding fuel to those rumors was New Orleans guard Chris Paul’s toast at Anthony’s New York wedding about joining him in the Big Apple to form a super trio with Knicks star Amare Stoudemire like the Miami Heat’s Big Three.
For now, the talk has quieted while Denver has gotten off to an uneven start. After recording consecutive wins, the Nuggets (5-5) have dropped three of four, with all of those losses coming on the road, including Monday’s 100-94 defeat to Phoenix.
Denver led by as much as 15 in the first half and eight early in the fourth quarter, but was outscored 27-13 over the final 10 minutes. Anthony was a bright spot in the defeat with 20 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, his second straight double-double.
“This is a game we should have won and we let it slip by us,” forward-center Al Harrington said. “We’ve got to get better closing out games.”
In his previous home game Thursday, Anthony had 32 points and 13 rebounds to help the Nuggets knock off the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Lakers 118-112. He’s averaging 26.3 points and 10 rebounds at home this season while helping Denver win three of four there.
The last time he faced New York at the Pepsi Center, he scored a career-best 50 points in a 128-125 victory, while Harrington led the Knicks with 41 off the bench.
Anthony is averaging 33.4 points on 55.1 percent shooting in his last nine games against the Knicks (3-7) and 35.0 in the last four home matchups.
New York will try to hold Anthony at bay while avoiding its fourth consecutive loss in Denver, but enters this game having given up an average of 110.2 points during its skid, its longest since dropping eight straight from Feb. 5-23.
The Knicks trailed by single digits for much of Sunday’s home game against Houston until missing their first eight shots in the fourth quarter of a 104-96 loss.
Stoudemire had 25 points but scored only three during the final period while his team was loudly booed.
“Obviously nobody wants to lose and everybody is pressing,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “The reality is we’re 3-7 and we’ve got a game on Tuesday. So you just try to figure out what’s going wrong, how can you get a little bit better.”
In the opener of a four-game Western road trip, D’Antoni’s team will try to win for the third time in 11 games in Denver.
The Knicks, though, won the previous matchup at Madison Square Garden on March 23 as Danilo Gallinari scored 28 points. Anthony had 36 in the 109-104 loss, which snapped a four-game win streak over New York.
Updated November 16, 2010
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