Carmelo Anthony's Least Favorite Playoff Numbers: 1 and 4Each year around this time we hear that Carmelo Anthony's Denver Nuggets are a "dangerous" team that "no one wants to play"--and then they win one game, sometimes on the road against a higher seeded opponent, before losing four and getting eliminated. Denver is one loss in San Antonio away from doing this for the fourth year in a row. San Antonio trailed by as many as 10 points in Monday's game four but outscored Denver 29-16 in the fourth quarter to win 96-89 and take a 3-1 series lead. Right after Denver beat the Spurs in San Antonio in game one, some "experts" predicted that the Nuggets were for real this time--and I wrote that the Spurs would win the series in less than seven games.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. The Elias Sports Bureau combed through the archives and discovered that this was the 20th playoff game in which Duncan led or tied for the team lead in all three categories, one shy of the NBA record held by Larry Bird. Robert Horry had just six points and six rebounds but added yet another chapter to his War and Peace length book of playoff heroics by draining a three pointer with :30 left that put the Spurs up 93-89. Can you say, "Good night, thank you for coming and don't forget the speakers"? (just checking to see if there are any Cheech and Chong fans here...) Anthony actually had a reasonably productive game: 29 points (11-18 shooting) and six rebounds, though he did have an unsightly 6/3 turnover to assist ratio. He has played better, by far, in this year's playoffs than in his three previous postseasons, when he averaged 18.6 ppg on .362 shooting. Allen Iverson had 22 points and seven assists but shot just 9-25 from the field and only went to the free throw line five times.
The Nuggets probably have the best mix of players that they have had since Anthony entered the NBA; next year, when Iverson is on board for a full season and Anthony presumably avoids being suspended, they may in fact really turn out to be dangerous--but their 2007 postseason seems destined to end like the previous three did: 1 and 4 and out the door.
posted by David Friedman @ 5:59 AM