DENVER (AP)—‘Melo overcame his migraine and the Toronto Raptors.
Carmelo Anthony(notes) scored 32 points in 30 minutes despite suffering from a severe headache and reserve J.R. Smith(notes) had 29, leading the Denver Nuggets past the Raptors 130-112 on Tuesday night.
Anthony awoke with his first migraine in a couple of years but never once thought of sitting this one out.
“My legs could work,” he said. “As long as I could run up and down that court, I was good.”
The Nuggets didn’t shake off the Raptors until well into the third quarter, and coach George Karl suggested it took that long for Anthony to shake off the cobwebs, too.
“It’s funny, man, I still have one,” Anthony said after the game. “I had the aftereffects. You know if you’ve ever had one, they don’t just go away like that. It will still be lingering around. There were some points at the beginning of the game where I felt it and then some points when I didn’t.
“And then I got hit in the head twice and that brought it all the way back.”
Anthony used to get migraines all the time but hadn’t had one in a while.
“That’s why it was weird to all of a sudden wake up with one,” he said. “Today I felt lethargic. All I can do is sleep. You’ve just got to sleep it away. I’m all right, though. I played. We won. I can’t complain.”
And even with the throbbing headache, ‘Melo was ‘Melo.
“Carmelo did a good job of creating shots for other guys,” Raptors forward Antoine Wright(notes) said. “He’s just matured as a basketball player. He’s not only looking for his shot but he’s looking how to make players better and I think that’s what beat us tonight.”
After withstanding Smith’s seven-game suspension and a six-game trip consisting of three back-to-backs, the Nuggets weathered a determined Raptors team that was without forward Hedo Turkoglu(notes) but didn’t trail until midway through the third quarter.
Turkoglu missed the game with a sore left hip and was replaced in the starting lineup by Wright, who’s dealing with a sore left ankle and finished with five points in 17 minutes. All the other starters reached double figures, as did reserves Marco Belinelli(notes) and Sonny Weems(notes), who scored a career-high 12 against his former team.
Jose Calderon(notes) sank a 3-pointer at the other end and it was back and forth until Denver took control with a quick 7-0 spurt that made it 81-74. Nene hit two free throws and Chauncey Billups(notes) sank a technical foul shot before Anthony swished a fadeaway followed by a turnaround jumper.
Denver went on a 16-4 run to start the fourth, building a 20-point lead on the way to its 14th straight regular-season home win. That’s its longest streak since 1989, when it won 19 straight home games.
The Raptors put together an 11-point lead in the second quarter, but they settled for a 64-64 halftime tie. Nene scored eight points and ‘Melo seven during Denver’s 17-6 run to end the first half, which ended with Anthony’s breakaway basket at the buzzer.
“We got together at halftime and told each other we didn’t want to play like that,” Anthony said. “That’s their game.”
So, they cranked up the defense to take control, then coasted.
Denver coach George Karl said this was the best passing game his team has had so far, and it showed in the paint, where the Nuggets outscored the Raptors 68-36.
“We had no answer for them inside,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “They posted us up with 3s, and once you try to help on Carmelo, when he’s making shots, you try to help, he picks you apart by hitting bigs diving to the basket. That second half got away from us.”