WASHINGTON (AP)—The Denver Nuggets were able to miss three alley-oops in one quarter and still run away from the Washington Wizards, who haven’t been this bad at the start of the season since the days of the Baltimore Bullets.
Carmelo Anthony scored 12 consecutive Nuggets points Friday night in a third quarter in which the home team was booed off the court, leading Denver to a 118-92 victory that snapped a three-game losing streak.
Anthony finished with 32 points, and Marcus Camby had 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the Nuggets, who shot 51 percent and rebounded from a 119-93 pounding Wednesday night at Boston.
The Wizards fell to 0-5 for the first time since 1966, when their home was down the road in Baltimore. The third quarter has to rank among the most embarrassing 12 minutes of basketball since the team moved to the nation’s capital: Coach Eddie Jordan, who pronounced his team’s mind-set as “fine” before the game, watched his team miss 7 of 10 shots, commit 12 turnovers and get outscored 33-11 in the quarter.
Gilbert Arenas, still laboring on a surgically repaired left knee that was drained for a second time on Wednesday, finished with 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting. He made 2 of 8 3-pointers and is 5-for-32 from 3-point range on the season.
Caron Butler scored 14 of his 21 points in the first quarter for the Wizards, while Antawn Jamison (6-for-17) and DeShawn Stevenson (0-for-6) continued to struggle from the field. Washington shot 38 percent, only a slight improvement over their NBA-worst 36.4 percent entering the game.
The Nuggets had won their first two and lost their next three, but they treated the Verizon Center as their own personal playground. They attempted six alley-oops, missing all three in the second quarter but making three others, including a poetry-in-motion twisting reverse slam by J.R. Smith on a feed from Allen Iverson in the fourth quarter.
Smith finished with 16 points, and Iverson had 15 points and eight assists, but Anthony had the best run. The Baltimore native’s 12 straight points in the third quarter all came on jump shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, as part of a 14-4 run that gave the Nuggets an 80-58 lead. Anthony went 3-for-13 against the Celtics, but he was 14-for-24 Friday night.
Both teams were sloppy early in the second quarter before the Nuggets took over. Linas Kleiza made two 3-pointers in a 12-2 run late in the half, giving Denver the first double-digit lead of the game. Kenyon Martin ended the half emphatically, with a two-handed dunk off a miss by Camby just before the buzzer to make the score 60-51.
The Nuggets failed to recognize how horrendous traffic can be on a rainy Friday night in the nation’s capital. A bus carrying four of the team’s five starters and coach George Karl needed 75 minutes to travel the 2 1/2 miles from the hotel and arrived less than an hour before tip-off. Asked about his trip, Karl rolled his eyes and muttered: “Fun D.C.” … Denver G Mike Wilks sat out with a strained right hamstring. … Washington coach Eddie Jordan had a quick answer when asked whether Arenas will have to lower expectations because of the knee injury. “Gilbert reduce his expectations? No way,” Jordan said. “I known him long enough.” … The Wizards averaged 104.3 last season with essentially the same lineup. This season they’ve averaging just over 90.