Anthony's 23 leads Nuggets over Wizards 120-109
WASHINGTON – Each day brings a new story about Carmelo Anthony. Will he go to New Jersey, New York or maybe even stay in Denver? It's kind of funny, but amid all the trade talk, Anthony's Nuggets are playing extremely well.
On Tuesday night, Anthony scored 23 points, Nene and Al Harrington each scored 21 and Denver started a five-game road trip with a 120-109 win over the Washington Wizards.
Anthony shot just 8 for 20, but six Nuggets scored in double figures. Arron Afflalo had 18 points, Ty Lawson added 17 and Chauncey Billups finished with 15.
Melo said that the team really hasn't had problems concentrating.
"It took for me one day to get everybody together and let them know that despite everything that's going on, I'm still here," Anthony said. "I'm still going to go out there and give my all — and I would like that in return."
Denver put together a 17-2 run to take a a 24-10 lead with 4:26 remaining in the first quarter and led 68-56 at halftime. The second half was more of the same, with the Nuggets leading 96-79 after three, and Washington never seriously challenging in the fourth.
The trading deadline is Feb. 24, and Anthony isn't sure where he'll go.
"I don't know. I can't look that far ahead. I can't look into February," Anthony said.
"Regardless of what's going to happen, it's going to happen. If I decide to stay, if they decide to trade me, something is going to happen. Until then, the only thing I can do is to continue to go out and give my all on the court."
The Nuggets' outspoken coach doesn't think it's a sure thing that the superstar he's helped nurture is a goner.
"I've always believed there was a chance we'd have Melo for the whole year, and that was a bigger chance than most people were saying, and that's what we've got to work through," George Karl said.
With Anthony still with Denver for now, he admits he's getting tired of the constant chatter.
"I never thought it would get like this," Anthony said. "I don't want to say it's tough, but it is because I'm the one who has to go out there and play my game."
Nick Young had 26 points for the Wizards. Andray Blatche scored 15 of his 25 points in the first quarter and John Wall finished with 10 points and 13 assists.
Washington, which has lost four of five, now plays its next four on the road, where they're winless in 21 games this season.
"I think our guys are looking forward to going on the road," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "Sometimes going on the road for a four-game trip is better than going for one game because you have the opportunity to bond a little bit."
The road hasn't been much kinder for the Nuggets, who have won only six of 19 away from Denver. The good news is the remaining games on this trip — Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New Jersey — are against teams with losing records.
Anthony probably isn't looking forward to the Jan. 31 visit to the Garden State, where he'll have to answer lots more questions about the scuttled trade to the Nets. New Jersey owner Mikhail Prokhorov called off talks on a blockbuster three-team trade that would have sent Anthony and Billups to New Jersey.
NOTES: Washington G Kirk Hinrich missed his third straight game with a sprained right elbow. ... Wizards swingman Josh Howard has been out with since early this month with a left knee injury but is improving and hopes to play Monday when Washington faces Dallas, Saunders said. ... Denver C/F Chris Andersen missed his seventh straight game with knee and back injuries, and hopes to play later in the road trip, Karl said. ... Saunders got a laugh out of C Kevin Seraphin's wardrobe malfunction when he put his shorts on backward Monday in New York. "The main thing we're going to do is make sure everyone has their shorts on right," he said.