Didn’t we just see this in January? Carmelo Anthony gets the last bucket of the game, and the Nuggets slide by, 114-113. And they did it this time without Chauncey Billups, which proves pretty persuasively that Denver has serious depth: J. R. Smith scored 22, including four treys, from off the bench, and Chris “Birdman” Andersen rolled up 12 points and seven boards before fouling out. They hardly needed ‘Melo to knock down 32, but he did, with 11 assists to boot, and Nenê was, well, Nenê, with 20.
Like that earlier game, this one was winnable: the Thunder racked up 70 first-half points, good for an 11-point lead, but Denver ratcheted up the defense in the second half, and the usual OKC sixteen turnovers led to suboptimal results. Still, the Three Musketeers shone: Kevin Durant had 31, Jeff Green 24 and Russell Westbrook 20. And Joe Smith was back to snag some timely boards: he got six in less than 14 minutes. Both Earl Watson and Nick Collison were in double figures.
And yet: ‘Melo. As clutch players go, he’s up there with the clutch-est.
The Blazers will be here Friday.