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News » K-Mart, Lawson energize Nuggets

K-Mart, Lawson energize Nuggets

K-Mart, Lawson energize Nuggets EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In this part of the Northeast, caring about anything in the sporting landscape Wednesday night began and ended with the World Series. The arena was sparsely populated, which allowed the Nuggets fans in attendance to be pretty much as loud as the Nets fans.

But while the loudest cheers were saved for Yankees highlights, the Nuggets and Nets played a competitive Basketball game. For a half.

The Nuggets came to life in the second half and put away the injury-depleted Nets 122-94 at the Izod Center.

"The equalizer in the NBA is the length of the game," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "The length of the game usually brings talent forward, and the better teams come forward over time."

Denver, 5-0 for the first time since 1985-86, used a 26-8 run to start the third quarter that essentially put the game away. The Nuggets were down by one at halftime but held a 17-point lead at the end of the third.

However, they struggled at the start.

"We knew we didn't have any intensity in the first half," forward Carmelo Anthony said.

Kenyon Martin, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, kept the Nuggets from completely fading away in the first half with his effort on the glass, energy on both ends of the court and, yes, his jump shot.

Anthony started slowly for a second consecutive game and New Jersey defenders were able to frustrate him. A 1-for-11 start, two personal fouls and a technical foul later, Anthony found himself cooling on the bench while his teammates chipped away.

First-year Nuggets Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson in particular.

Afflalo scored nine of his 15 points in the second quarter, when Lawson scored eight of his career-high 23 points - on 9-of-10 shooting, and 3-for-3 on 3-pointers. Afflalo has had a solid start to the road trip as he continues to get more comfortable with his new team.

"At halftime, I couldn't thank Afflalo and Ty enough for coming off the bench and playing well," Anthony said.

Through halftime, the Nets were beating the Nuggets at their own game - running, getting into the lane and getting to the free-throw line. New Jersey was 14-of-16 from the foul line in the first half, while the Nuggets went 12-of-14. New Jersey had 28 points in the paint to the Nuggets' 14.

But that changed.

The Nuggets came out of the half with sharpened intensity, and no one displayed that more than Anthony, who scored 11 points in the decisive third quarter. The Nuggets played both ends of the court to the level of play Karl expected from the start.

"We all came in at halftime pretty disappointed in how we played and we made some adjustments defensively," guard Chauncey Billups said. "More than that, we just had to get aggressive."

They did, and the effort simply wore the winless Nets (0-5) down. The Nuggets scored 44 points in the quarter and exited the third with a 94-77 advantage.

Anthony finished with 22 points and hit 7-of-13 shots in the second half.

"Our guys, their mental maturity is focused and disciplined right now to have a special season," Karl said.

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or

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Added: November 6, 2009


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