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Charlotte at Denver

Anthony returns from broken hand, scores 19 to fuel Nuggets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DENVER -- The healing hand was hardly a hindrance.

Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points in his first game back from a broken bone in his shooting hand, lifting the Denver Nuggets to a 110-99 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.

"It felt pretty good," Anthony said. "It's still a little tender. That's going to be something that I have to fight through."

Anthony played with his two middle fingers wrapped in athletic tape, per doctor's orders. It didn't alter his touch in the least as he finished 5-of-12 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the free-throw line.

Even Anthony's fitness was in fine fashion, the forward hardly even feeling winded.

"I actually thought I did pretty well," he said.

Anthony was injured on Jan. 5 when Indiana center Jeff Foster swatted at the ball, catching a good chunk of Anthony's hand. He sat out 10 games, the team going 6-4 in his absence.

"It was good to see him back on the court," Nene said.

Now Anthony has something to prove -- that he's still an All-Star. Anthony was snubbed from the Western Conference team, overlooked Thursday when the reserves were announced.

The exclusion bothers him. After all, Anthony had the numbers to make his third consecutive All-Star team.

It didn't happen.

"I don't really think it has anything to do with my game," Anthony said. "Everybody and their mother knows the reason was because of the injury."

Nene had 22 points, hitting 10 of 11 shots, and 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season.

The Brazilian forward continues his run of torrid shooting, hitting eight in a row before finally missing a layup late in the third quarter.

He ranks among the best in the league in field-goal percentage this season. Nene hit all 12 shots he attempted against Utah last Sunday, tying a team record for the most makes without a miss.

"Nene is an interesting paint player," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "He has a tremendous ability when he cuts and moves to shoot 9-for-10, 10-for-15. When you don't get him the ball, you're like, 'Why didn't we get him the ball more?' His efficiency on touches is first class."

Raja Bell led the Bobcats with a season-high 27 points. Boris Diaw added 16 and former Nuggets player Juwan Howard had 11.

The Nuggets led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, before removing their regulars and coasting to their fourth win in five games.

"We weren't as good as them," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. "They were great."

Chauncey Billups was once again the catalyst. He was his usually reliable self, finishing with 12 points and six assists.

"He's had an amazing year," said Brown, who coached Billups in Detroit. "He was great when I was with him and nothing's changed. He makes other people better."

Billups has certainly been good for Anthony and the rest of the Nuggets since he was acquired from the Pistons on Nov. 3 for Allen Iverson.

"Chauncey's a winner," Karl said. "He's a leader. Even when he doesn't play well, he plays with a substance that everyone feels, including the other team."

Bell teased Anthony on Friday night, asking him why he had to pick this game for his return.

"He could have rested one more game if it were up to me," Bell said, smiling. "It's good to see him back. He is a great player. The Nuggets had it rolling, and it looks like they got it rolling again."

Anthony would agree.

"The sky's the limit for this team," he said. "They made my time (out) a little bit easier by winning games. Now, we want to build on that."

Notes

  • Charlotte F Sean May missed the game with a right knee injury after an MRI revealed some swelling. "He was having a little discomfort," Brown explained. May sat out last season after having microfracture surgery. He has played in 16 games this season.
  • Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace was released from a Los Angeles hospital after being treated for a partially collapsed lung he sustained on a flagrant foul against the Lakers earlier this week.
  • Nuggets F Linas Kleiza finished with 21 points.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Carmelo Anthony goes 5-for-12 from the field in his first game back from a broken hand.  (Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony goes 5-for-12 from the field in his first game back from a broken hand. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Charlotte (19-28) 1923292899
Denver (31-16) «24332924110
CHA:R. Bell 27 Pts
CHA:D. Diop 7 Reb
CHA:R. Felton 9 Ast
DEN:Nene 22 Pts
DEN:Nene 12 Reb
DEN:C. Billups 6 Ast
Players of the Game
DenverCharlotte

Nene

R. Bell
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
221232754
Charlotte
B. Diaw, SF396-142-255216
R. Felton, PG393-102-31949
R. Bell, SG389-146-754227
E. Okafor, C214-62-250310
A. Morrison, SF172-50-01055
J. Howard, PF264-103-451111
D. Diop, C262-41-27055
S. Brown, PG152-70-10214
C. Martin, F92-50-00126
C. Martin, PF92-50-00126
S. Singletary, PG70-02-20002
A. Ajinca, C31-22-41104
N. Mohammed, CDid Not Play
G. Wallace, SFDid Not Play
S. May, PFDid Not Play
D. Augustin, PGDid Not Play
Totals 35-7720-2730232599
 45.5%74.1% 
Denver
Nene, PF3110-112-4123322
C. Anthony, SF305-129-1125419
K. Martin, PF283-61-25358
C. Billups, PG273-96-836012
D. Jones, SG213-40-03156
L. Kleiza, SF297-114-430221
J. Smith, SG274-112-424210
A. Carter, PG220-20-02630
C. Andersen, PF192-32-26036
R. Balkman, PF53-30-01016
J. Petro, C20-10-00000
S. Hunter, PFDid Not Play
S. Weems, SGDid Not Play
Totals 40-7326-35392828110
 54.8%74.3% 
Other Games
Bos 86 Final
Det 78
Mia 103 Final
Ind 114
Wash 94 Final
Phi 104
Mil 96 Final
Tor 85
NJ 88 Final
Atl 105
LAC 95 Final
Cle 112
LAL 132 Final
Min 119
OKC 90 Final
Utah 110
GS 91 Final
NO 87
Chi 109 Final
Sac 88