Opening Statement

By: 11.14.09  •  57 Comments

Carmelo Anthony

If the Nuggets were aware that the majority of NBA experts had kind of written them off as a legit championship contender going into this season — mainly because they hadn’t made any major moves over the summer — last night’s Hulk-Smash of the Lakers on national TV was a definite statement win. Carmelo dropped 25 points in just 29 minutes on L.A.’s shiny new Ron Artest acquisition, as the Nuggets turned a close game at halftime into a rout when they held the Lakers to EIGHT points in the third quarter. By the fourth, J.R. Smith (he’s not “Earl” anymore) was dropping threes and annoyingly twisting the knife in a way only J.R. Smith can. Glad to see he’s officially back … Don’t believe the hype: DJ Mbenga let 5-11 Ty Lawson dunk on him. With everyone still talking about D-Wade‘s dunk over Anderson Varejao, Mbenga wanted to get his title back as the NBA’s foremost dunk magnet. He figured, what better stage than on national TV, to let a little dude dunk on him and take the attention away from Varejao. It didn’t work — Varejao is still the most embarrassed guy in the League for now — but it was a good try … It looks like this week isn’t going to make the cut for the Best Weeks in Hornets History DVD that’s in the works. In the first game since Byron Scott got fired and GM Jeff Bower (who looks like Rick Majerus with a walrus mustache) took over as interim coach, the Hornets saw Chris Paul go down with a bad-looking ankle injury. CP had to be carried off the court during the second half of a loss to Portland; he’s definitely out for at least one game and is reported to be out for up to two weeks. Even before the injury, CP was struggling, shooting 1-for-8 (3 pts) … For the Hawks, beating the Celtics on the road was a bigger deal to them than it was for the Celtics to lose one. And that’s not even meant in a bad way. ATL has put together an impressive record this season, but they needed to prove they can beat a serious contender in their building and get over whatever psychological edge Boston had on them. Joe Johnson helped make it happen with 24 points, while Al Horford added 12 and 13 boards … Keep an eye on Paul Pierce. He left in the third quarter with a bruised knee and returned later in the fourth — not exactly the scene from the ’08 Finals, but not bad. Pierce didn’t seem to think it was too serious after the game, but considering Boston’s next game is against the Pacers, he doesn’t have a reason to kill himself getting back on the court … Just under a minute to go in Kings/Rockets, the shot clock was running down and Sacramento was looking to deliver a dagger with a six-point lead. Tyreke Evans had Trevor Ariza (28 pts, 5 stls) on him like a schmedium t-shirt, but managed to get off an off-balance jumper from the top of the key that kissed off the glass and in. You rarely see Tyreke (20 pts) smile on the court, but he couldn’t help but laugh about that one … Question: If the Nuggets and Knicks are the two most-tattooed teams in the League, would the Kings be the least-tatted? …

Rafer Alston, Dime #34

Rafer Alston, Dime #34

Other big stat lines from Friday: Rafer Alston had a triple-double (17 pts, 10 rebs, 10 asts) in Jersey’s loss to Orlando, while Dwight Howard posted 26 points, 12 boards and five blocks; Chris Bosh had 21 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in a win over the Clippers; Dirk Nowitzki put up 20 points and 11 boards to beat the Wolves; and Eric Maynor, starting in place of Deron Williams (personal reasons), had 13 points and 11 dimes in a win at Philly … Some of the Dime crew was at MSG to watch the Warriors beat the Knicks. Walking into the Golden State locker room pre-game, nobody was surprised to see the table full of candy in the middle of the room. Bubble gum, power bars, shots of energy drinks, basically anything that might give you a little extra kick when you’re about to run for 48 minutes … The scouting report on the Knicks’ white board said: “Morrow: 15-25 3’s.” Not sure if it meant Anthony Morrow will take 25-foot threes, or that he’ll take 25 threes, but either one probably applies … Still trying to figure out why Al Harrington, the face of Protege sneakers, was wearing Nikes … The first week of real college basketball games saw its first busy schedule yesterday: Top-ranked Kansas dumped a 30-piecing on Hofstra, getting 27 points from freshman Xavier Henry and 23 from Sherron Collins; Without suspended John Wall, Kentucky ran through Morehead State behind Patrick Patterson‘s 20 points and 12 rebounds; Kyle Singler scored 20 in Duke’s destruction of UNC-Greensboro; Kalin Lucas had 21 points as Michigan State destroyed Florida Gulf Coast; Marcus Jordan went scoreless in 11 minutes of his Central Florida debut, a win over UMass; and Jarvis Varnado posted 22 points, 14 boards and seven blocks in a surprising Mississippi State’s loss to Rider … But the line of the night came from Arkansas’ Rotnei Clarke. He dropped 51 points and THIRTEEN threes on Alcorn State in a 130-68 massacre. Alcorn coach Larry Smith put it best: “The way he was shooting the threes, I don’t see how you can possibly lose him. We failed to get him covered.” … And UAB’s Elijah Millsap, younger brother of Paul Millsap, put up 22 points and 11 boards in a win over Wisconsin-Green Bay. According to Elijah’s UAB website bio, big brother Paul plays for the Trail Blazers. We’re guessing somebody wrote that in the week he had that offer sheet signed … We’re out like CP …

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