Published January 16, 2011
SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker is just glad it's not him who is being chased by New York trade rumors anymore, now that Carmelo Anthony is getting all the attention.
Parker scored 30 points and the San Antonio Spurs reached the season's midway point with the third-best first half in NBA history, beating Denver 110-97 on Sunday night in what Anthony said wasn't his last game in a Nuggets uniform.
"No, not at all," Anthony said. "I'm going to play Wednesday against Oklahoma City and then against the Lakers. Then Indiana."
Is he sure of that?
Anthony added he hadn't heard reports of the Nuggets giving the New Jersey Nets permission to speak with him, thereby avoiding league tampering rules.
"If that was the case, I'm sure I would have gotten a phone call," said Anthony, who scored 12 points on 5 of 17 shooting in the loss.
The NBA-best Spurs (35-6) won their sixth in a row.
Manu Ginobili added 18 points for San Antonio, which beat Denver for a third time while continuing its best start in franchise history. The last team this dominant through 41 games was Detroit in 2005-06, when the Pistons started 36-5 and wound up losing in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Spurs have a better finish in mind.
They extended their lead in the Southwest Division to eight games over the reeling Dallas Mavericks — their biggest division cushion in nearly 30 years.
"We have to keep it going, can't be satisfied," Parker said. "We just have to keep pushing."
Parker was 11 of 15 from the floor, had seven assists — and relished that he was no longer in Anthony's shoes.
Rumors swirled before this season that Parker wouldn't re-sign with the Spurs because his eyes were on playing in New York. Those reports disappeared quickly when he signed a four-year, $50 million extension after the first game of the season.
Parker said he can relate to Anthony's position.
"(Stinks) to play like that. That's why I was happy when I signed," Parker said. "Because all those rumors and New York this, New York that. I can only imagine what Carmelo's going through. It's tough for the whole team, it's tough to get something going, because you never know if the next day you're going to get traded."
Reserves Gary Neal and George Hill scored 14 apiece for the Spurs, and Tim Duncan had nine points and 16 rebounds. The Spurs blew the game open with 33-7 run in the second quarter after the Nuggets built a 12-point lead early.
Al Harrington led the Nuggets with 18 points, Nene added 17 and Arron Afflalo 14.
Anthony, wearing dark sunglasses, chatted with reporters easily in the locker room after the game.
Karl arrived in San Antonio feeling good about his team, but Denver's three-game winning streak was halted. The Nuggets have two days off before finding out whether Anthony really will be back in the lineup Wednesday against Oklahoma City.
Karl said the Nuggets have to "keep our focus, keep on fighting through the drama."
In San Francisco, where the Nets were practicing before their game at Golden State on Monday, coach Avery Johnson was adamant that no deal was in place.
"The team that you see right now? You'll see this team in uniform Wednesday," Johnson said about the Nets, according to the Star-Ledger of Newark. "See the team? You'll see them Wednesday night. You'll see the same team Wednesday night."
Johnson said it'll also be the same Nets team Friday before adding, "End of story."
Anthony has said he will only put his name to a contract extension with a team that gives him the best shot at a championship. The All-Star has long maintained his dream is to play in New York, and he and his wife, TV personality LaLa Vazquez, have numerous Brooklyn ties.
The Nets are scheduled to move there in 2012, making that potential trade an attractive possibility. But Anthony also thinks everyone is reading too much into his infatuation with the Big Apple.
Notes: Spurs F Matt Bonner did not play because of a sore right knee. ... Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson, who starred in college at Texas, sat courtside.