A week of rest was all Carmelo Anthony needed to rediscover his scoring touch.
Playing the defenseless New York Knicks probably helped, too.
Anthony (Towson Catholic) scored 32 points after missing three games with a bruised right elbow, and the visiting Denver Nuggets sent the Knicks to their sixth straight loss with a 117-110 victory yesterday.
It was just the third 30-point game this season for Anthony, who has been bothered by the elbow since he was originally hurt in a win over the Houston Rockets on Nov. 30. The Nuggets decided to give their leading scorer a break after he averaged just 11.5 points on 8-for-27 shooting in losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns on consecutive nights.
"I think that was the best thing that ever happened to me," Anthony said.
The Nuggets blew the double-digit lead they seized by making 15 of 20 shots in the second quarter, but they recovered behind Anthony's flawless fourth.
Anthony hit all five shots in the final quarter. His jumper with 4:32 left gave Denver the lead for good at 107-106, and he made consecutive jumpers to give the Nuggets a six-point lead about two minutes later. Anthony shot 13-for-19 at Madison Square Garden.
"I know he likes to play in this building," Denver coach George Karl said. "I don't know if he's ever had a bad game in this building."
Cavaliers 93, Heat 86: : LeBron James scored 33 - four more than good buddy Dwyane Wade, the NBA's leading scorer - and Cleveland remained the league's only unbeaten team on its own floor with a win over Miami.
For the second straight game, the Cavaliers had to come back late at Quicken Loans Arena to extend their home winning streak, which stands at 16 straight. Cleveland was down by nine points going into the fourth and trailed by eight before going on an 18-2 run and outscoring Miami 26-11 over the final eight minutes.
Celtics 108, Kings 63: : Kevin Garnett had 21 points and 11 rebounds and visiting Boston rebounded from back-to-back losses in emphatic fashion, beating Sacramento in one of the most one-sided wins in franchise history.
The 45-point margin of victory is tied for the sixth biggest ever by the Celtics, who also beat the Knicks by that amount last season. The last time Boston had a bigger win was a 153-107 victory over the Baltimore Bullets in 1970.
Lakers 130, Warriors 113: : Kobe Bryant scored 31 points, Derek Fisher added 19 and host Los Angeles rolled by Golden State. Jamal Crawford returned to Golden State's lineup after missing two games with a groin strain and scored 22.
Mavericks 98, Clippers 76: : Josh Howard had 29 points, nine rebounds and a career-best seven assists, leading Dallas to victory over host Los Angeles while Mavericks leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki served a one-game suspension.
The ban was announced by the NBA about three hours before the game, after Nowitzki hit the Jazz's Matt Harpring on Friday.