Denver Nuggets fans got a taste of what life without Carmelo Anthony would be like, and for one night it was just right.
Anthony played only three minutes, but left due to a bout with the flu and sixth man JR Smith led the charge with 30 points and chipped in eight rebounds, however it was far from a one man show and it had the resemblance of the Nuggets from the ’80s as Denver won its third game in a row.
Seven different players scored in double-digits, and offensively-challenged Shelden Williams added 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Chauncey Billups returned after a two-game absence and found his shot again, he scored 25 points and made eight of 14 shots from the field and four of six from behind the arc. He also had eight assists against his one turnover in by far his best game of the night.
Arron Afflalo, Gary Forbes and Ty Lawson each had 15 points and Nene chipped in 12 and nine boards.
However, the Nuggets couldn’t stop the Suns from scoring. They held them to only 18 points, but J-Rich was just as hot as Smith scoring a game-best 39 points. Denver continued its struggles against the pick-and-roll and Phoenix’s Suns veteran point guard Steve Nash took advantage of it scoring 15 points and 11 assists. He also brought his team within one after drawing an and-1 from Nene.
And the Nuggets nearly gave the game away after Nene missed both of his free throws and JR Smith made 2 of 4.
Up next is the Milwaukee Bucks, who are 2-6 on the road and 6-10 overall. However, the Bucks have been a challenge for the Nuggets the previous few years winning both the games last season and taking three of the previous four meetings.