Nuggets want Melo shooting more
The Denver Post
LOS ANGELES ” Of all the shots Carmelo Anthony took ” and made ” Tuesday night, all the talk after the Nuggets’ Game 1 loss to the Lakers was about the shots Anthony didn’t take.
Anthony led the Nuggets with 39 points. He hit 14-of-20 shots, including 4-of-5 on 3-point attempts, and made 7-of-8 free throws. He took five shots in the fourth quarter. However, he did not score again after a follow shot with 3:25 left to give the Nuggets a 96-92 lead.
“I wish we could rewind the game a little bit and at the end I wish he could have gotten his hands on a few more balls on the last few possessions because he was going so good,” Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups said.
Added guard J.R. Smith: “I think we got to do a better job as a team of getting him the ball at the end of the game. I think that should be more of an emphasis. We just got to learn from our experiences.”
But Anthony didn’t see it that way. He scored nine points in the fourth quarter.
“I could have been a little bit more selfish,” Anthony said, “but I don’t think it came down to that.”
Part of what Anthony was trying to accomplish against the Lakers was to have patience with his offensive game. That included being patient in the fourth quarter, when the Nuggets were outscored 31-27. Asked if he thought he should have called for the ball more, Anthony shrugged.
“I didn’t really look at it like that,” he said. “I was just trying to make a play, execute plays. I know that’s what they wanted me to do, rather than get the ball and force a play with a smaller guy on me. My mentality when I have a smaller guy on me normally is to try to take him to the block.”
Anthony had his fourth consecutive 30-point game of the playoffs, which tied a franchise record. He started hot, hitting 7-of-8 shots in the first quarter, and never cooled off. His jump shot was his biggest friend all night, and he hit from all angles on the Staples Center court.
In the fourth quarter, Anthony’s game changed from scoring outside to powering the ball in the paint. All night long he took advantage of what the Lakers’ defense was allowing him to do. It was a far cry from the struggles he had against the Lakers during the regular season. He averaged just 14.5 points and shot 32 percent from the field against them in four regular-season games.
“I just was trying to let the game come to me, take what the defense was giving me,” Anthony said. “The way that the Lakers play defense, they tilt the floor to you, bring all five guys over there to you.”
Anthony said he put regular-season struggles behind him in preparation for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. But asked if he changed his offensive approach at all for this game, he said he didn’t want to rush anything. “My approach was to let the game come to me,” he said. “Moving the ball, passing the ball and at the end of the play, end up (with the ball) in my hand where I can end up making a play. That was the case tonight.”
Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or email@example.com