Now Carmelo Anthony can concentrate entirely on basketball again. That means defenses all over the NBA better get focused, too.
Hours after prosecutors dropped a drug charge against him, Anthony scored 30 points to help the Denver Nuggets hold off the visiting Toronto Raptors 112-106 on Wednesday night.
``A little bit early in the season I was thinking about it, worrying about what they were going to do, but now I try to put basketball in the middle and work everything else around it,'' Anthony said.
The star forward was charged with possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana on Oct. 15 after a bag with the drug was found in his backpack as the team waited to board a flight for a preseason game. A friend came forward and said the drugs were his, but the negative attention clearly affected Anthony early this season.
After shooting 27 percent the first four games, Anthony has made 36 of 76 shots (47 percent) the past four, scoring at least 30 points twice. More importantly, he has been more aggressive, and the smile he flashed so often as a rookie last season has returned.
``Carmelo is active and not settling for jump shots,'' Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. ``He is taking balls to the hole and hitting the offensive glass, and those kinds of things are needed for him to be a complete scorer.''
In other games, it was: Detroit 93, Minnesota 85; Seattle 79, New Jersey 68; Orlando 107, Utah 92; Indiana 93, Atlanta 86; Washington 110, Boston 105 in overtime; Phoenix 95, New Orleans 84; Miami 113, Milwaukee 106; Memphis 101, Portland 82; Golden State 98, Chicago 85; and the Los Angeles Lakers 103, the Los Angeles Clippers 89.
Anthony also had a key block in the closing minutes and made all 16 free throws, including two with 5.6 seconds left to seal Denver's second win in three games since a 1-4 start.
Kenyon Martin added 24 points and 16 rebounds to give the Nuggets the electrifying 1-2 combination they were hoping for when Martin signed in the offseason.
Denver played without center Marcus Camby and power forward Nene due to hamstring injuries, and Martin did his best to make up for their absence with his usual aggressive play.
``People have been looking for that since the start of the season,'' Anthony said. ``We gave them what they want to see and hopefully we can carry it on to the next game and throughout the season.''
I hope that with his mind totally on basketball, he can play back up to his potential. It was clearly shown in the game against the Raptors, all we can do is just hope he can keep up the good work. Its good that he got out when he did, because who knows when we could be plagued with a serious injury. Luckily we have been limited to only Lenard this season. Lets pump it back up and hope that the drug charges can stay in the past!