The Houston Rockets probably wouldn’t mind if the four-time All-Star wanted to take another day off as a precaution.
Anthony seeks to help the Nuggets beat the Rockets for the fifth time in six meetings Monday night in Denver.
Anthony was enjoying one of his best games of the season Saturday against Minnesota, scoring 25 points and hitting 9 of 12 shots from the field through three quarters. A bothersome right elbow flared up in the final period, however, and he only attempted one shot the rest of the way.
Denver (30-21) went on to win 113-100, and Anthony said after the game he would be a fine after a day of rest.
Seeing a game against the Rockets (24-28) next on the schedule might have also aided the healing process.
In four games against Houston since the start of last season, Anthony is averaging 35.0 points, his second-highest mark against any opponent.
The Nuggets have won four of the last five in this series, and have also taken five of the last six meetings in Denver.
With Anthony hurting late Saturday, J.R. Smith(notes) stepped up and scored 10 of his 14 points in the final seven minutes. Chauncey Billups(notes) added 21 points and 13 assists for his first double-double of the season and Arron Afflalo(notes) scored 22 for the Nuggets, who had 30 assists on 43 baskets.
“We passed the ball,” coach George Karl said. “I’ve always felt our team, when we pass, we play well. We have so many good scorers. If we play together, I don’t care what kind of defense you throw at us, you have a difficult time finding answers for how we can score points.”
Denver is 28-6 when scoring at least 103 points, and 2-15 when failing to hit that mark.
The Rockets are allowing an average of 104.7 points, including 110.0 in two losses to the Nuggets. Denver won 107-94 in Houston on Oct. 30 and 113-106 at home on Jan. 3.
Houston arrives in Denver hoping to build on Saturday’s 95-93 overtime win over Memphis.
The Rockets treated the matchup against the Grizzlies like a playoff game, knowing a victory against a team ahead of them in the standings would help their postseason push. Houston is 3 1/2 games behind eighth-place Portland in the Western Conference, also needing to leapfrog Memphis and Phoenix.
“We needed this game, big-time,” said Luis Scola(notes), who scored six of his 17 points in the extra session. “This team is right ahead of us, or one of them. If you want to be in the playoffs, you need to beat them. It’s a game that we wanted.”
Kevin Martin(notes) had 31 points Saturday, the fifth time he reached the 30-point mark in Houston’s last 11 contests, but he had one of his worst performances in Denver last month. Martin, who averages a team-best 23.3 points, matched a season low with eight while shooting a season-worst 3 of 15 shooting.
The Rockets are 3-11 when Martin fails to reach 20 points.