Nuggets send Knicks to eighth straight loss

Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony hit plenty of big shots for the Denver Nuggets. On Friday night, the forward had a chance to drain one against his former team.
Instead, he couldn't deliver.
Anthony scored a game-high 27 points but missed a tying jumper with 2.1 seconds left and the Nuggets beat the New York Knicks 97-95.
"I didn't get it done, that's it. My teammates did a great job of getting us in that position, putting us in that position, giving me the chance of tying the game or going for the win," he said. "I didn't come through. I'll take that."
Anthony, a member of the Nuggets for 7 1/2 seasons, was held to five points and one field goal in the fourth quarter. Center Andrea Bargnani had 22 points for the Knicks, whose eight-game losing streak is their longest in four seasons.
Anthony received a mix of boos and cheers when New York's starters were introduced. The boos continued every time he touched the ball, and the crowd relished a missed alley-oop early in the first quarter.
"Hell no, that don't concern me," Anthony said of the boos. "I'm past those stages."
Guard Ty Lawson had 22 points and eight assists and guard Randy Foye added 17 points for the Nuggets, who have won five straight.
Foye hit a big 3-pointer late, but his biggest contribution came on the final play of the night. Despite giving up 7 inches, Foye, like he did against Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki last week, forced Anthony into a tough shot with the game on the line.
"Much respect to Carmelo, but at the end of the game, I realize we're fighting for our lives," Foye said. "I'm just saying to myself, 'I'm going to make him take a tough shot, no matter what.' If he makes it over me with a hand up, I can live with it. But I can't live with giving him an easy shot, just because he's Carmelo."
Anthony was a fan favorite in Denver but forced a trade to New York. The Knicks (3-12) expected to be a title contender when they acquired Anthony three seasons ago, but they haven't made it past the second round of the playoffs.
Their current losing streak has them in last place in the Atlantic but only three games out of first because every team in the division is below .500.
"We aren't playing too bad, we just aren't playing for 48 minutes," New York coach Mike Woodson said. "We have to get to where we aren't playing catch-up basketball and teams are trying to play catch-up to us."
The Nuggets, meanwhile, have successfully meshed the talent they received in the trade with the Knicks. They won a franchise record 57 games last year and have five straight victories to recover from an 0-3 start.
They built on their winning streak despite not playing as well as they did in beating Dallas and Minnesota on the road earlier this week.
They appeared to have survived a New York surge that made it a two-point game with 4:17 left. After Anthony missed a tying jumper, forward Wilson Chandler drained a 3-pointer and Foye, who had 17 points, hit a corner 3-pointer with 1:43 to make it a nine-point lead.
"That's why I'm here, right? That's (Ty Lawson) forte, getting in the paint, creating for himself and for others," Foye said. "When they collapse on him, that's why they signed me, to make shots like that."
Guard Raymond Felton's 3-pointer with and guard Ian Shumpert's layup with 19.7 seconds left made it 96-95. Lawson hit one free throw, and the Knicks got the ball to Anthony.
"I saw I had a smaller guy on me and my thing was to try to shoot over him," Anthony said. "I knew what I wanted to do, I knew the spot I wanted to get to. I didn't complete it."
Foye got a piece of Anthony's 14-foot turnaround jumper and Chandler grabbed the rebound as time expired.
"I blocked it," Foye said. "Make sure they put that down. I blocked it."
The Nuggets played most of the second half without forward Kenneth Faried. He left the game in the third quarter with a right quadriceps contusion.
NOTES: Nine of the 24 players on the rosters have played for both teams -- five on the Nuggets and four on the Knicks. ... The Nuggets didn't hold a morning shoot-around despite not playing Thursday. Instead, coach Brian Shaw decided to have the players come in at 3:30 p.m. local time for a walkthrough. "We had been on the road. We came back to town just for one game and we're going back out again, so I wanted to give our guys as much rest as possible," Shaw said. ... The Knicks' last eight-game losing streak was Feb. 5-23, 2010. They won 29 games that season. ... The Nuggets entered Friday with a 2-0 record against the Eastern Conference.

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