Den­ver de­liv­ers again at home

The Denver Post - - SUNDAY - By Christo­pher Dempsey

Fun fact: Since the 2011 trade that sent Carmelo An­thony to the Knicks, the Nuggets’ record is 223-223.

Satur­day night’s 127-114 win over the Knicks at the Pepsi Cen­ter was the game that evened the mark.

The player that closed the book on the trade, Ja­mal Mur­ray, was on the court. The player that started the trade — An­thony — was out there, too. There was some ques­tion as to whether he would be be­cause of a nag­ging shoul­der in­jury. His 29 points were vin­tage Melo, but the Nuggets owned the night, coast­ing to the win.

“That’s how we want to play,” guard Gary Har­ris said. “We’ve just got to keep this go­ing. I like the en­ergy we’re play­ing with on both ends of the floor. We’re having fun. We’ve just got to keep it go­ing.”

That brings us to fun fact No. 2: Since start­ing 0-3 at home, the Nuggets are 5-4 at the Pepsi Cen­ter. They’ve

chipped away at the nar­ra­tive that they’re a bet­ter team on the road, and they’ve done so with qual­ity vic­to­ries over good teams such as the Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Port­land Trail Blaz­ers and the Knicks. They have not trailed in ei­ther of their last two games.

Scor­ing 100 points is a thing again. They’ve done it in three straight games at home, and two have re­sulted in wins. The Nuggets are av­er­ag­ing 123 points in that span.

“We re­al­ize that if we re­ally want to be a play­off team, ... you have to win at home,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “What did we win last year? Nine­teen games? We have to be bet­ter at home; we’re do­ing that as of late.”

On Satur­day, the Nuggets used a mix­ture of solid de­fense and freeflow­ing of­fense to get the job done. Ken­neth Faried scored a sea­son-high 25 points and grabbed seven re­bounds.

Em­manuel Mu­diay played his best game in some time with 22 points on 10-of-15 shoot­ing and had seven re­bounds and five as­sists.

“This was one of Em­manuel’s best games,” Malone said.

But it is the start­ing lineup around Mu­diay that has been the big­gest, most eye-open­ing change. Since the team re­turned to full health and, es­sen­tially, last sea­son’s start­ing lineup was re­in­stated (Mu­diay, Har­ris, Danilo Gal­li­nari, Wil­son Chan­dler, Nikola Jo­kic), the Nuggets have rolled. They got off to a hot start against the Blaz­ers on Thurs­day and did it again in the first quar­ter against New York.

Mu­diay and Chan­dler got the Nuggets rolling early, but the de­fense was the big­gest cat­a­lyst.

The Nuggets led by as many as 21 and sur­vived a cou­ple of Knicks ral­lies that made the deficit man­age­able, although the out­come was rarely in doubt.

David Zalubowski, The As­so­ci­ated Press

New York Knicks for­ward Carmelo An­thony, a for­mer Nuggets star, tries to score against Nuggets for­ward Wil­son Chan­dler dur­ing the first half of Satur­day night’s game at the Pepsi Cen­ter.

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