Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and broke a record held by Elgin Baylor, (Check the archives if you need a history lesson), for the most 40 point games by a Laker in a season by hitting the “four-O” mark for the 24th time this season. While one bit of history was rewritten, another might be just gaining acclaim.
Carmelo Anthony and company played phenomenal basketball for almost an entire game. This was refreshing to see after some of the low points that we have witnessed in the last few outings. All five starters scored in double figures, and Rueben Patterson tallied nine off the bench. Anthony had 33, Francisco Elson scored a career-high 21 points while grabbing eleven rebounds, and Marcus Camby scored ten and squeezed eleven to match ‘Cisco on the boards.
Carmelo Anthony’s most important deuce was in overtime, with ten seconds and ticking, score tied, and no timeout sequestered for a diagramed play. Everyone in the building knew ‘Melo was going to get the last look for the Nuggets, and the Laker defense could do nothing to stop it. Carmelo dribbled twice rapidly with the right, crossed over Devean “The Grinch” George, took a step back, and drained the fall-away jumper. The home crowd exploded. The Nuggets were up two with 3.8 seconds remaining. Too bad he wasn’t in the game against the Clippers, might have been two in a row…
Greg Buckner and Patterson tried their best to contain Kobe Bryant. It may seem that their efforts were in vain, but when the game was on the line, Kobe was not allowed to touch the ball for the last second shot. Consequentially, and after calling a time out when the Lakers were unable to inbound the ball the first time, Luke Walton got the final shot and missed. Not giving Kobe a chance to beat you in the final seconds is paramount and merits kudos for the defensive duo regardless of the 42 point effort by Bryant.
The history that is unfolding right in front of Nuggets fan’s eyes is the solidification of young Carmelo Anthony’s ability to cash the game winning check. He is now 10-15 lifetime when the game is in the balance to be tied or won in the last ten seconds. He has hit six game winners this year, and eight in his three year career. That is only three shy of his Airness’s mark of eleven in a 15 year career. Even more importantly is that the Nuggets are poised to clinch the first division title since the 1987-1988 season. The same season that was witness to Fat Lever being honored as Western Conference Player of the Month. Coincidence, I think not. Carmelo IS the best clutch shooter in the league. Anyone with any research to prove otherwise is encouraged to comment and school me on the numbers.
The magic number is now any combination of two Nugget wins or Utah loses. One side note that I would like to bring up. I did promise on another sports website to stop mentioning Kenyon Martin negatively because he is going to be a Nugget for the remainder of the season under any circumstances. So I’ll leave Nuggets fans with this; Denver is 15-6 when K-Mart doesn’t play… Instead of saying anything negative about Kenyon, I’ll just mention a positive about the Nugg’s. The writing is on the wall fans. Its your choice if you chose to read it.