HEAT dropped by Denver 113-96
By ARNIE STAPLETON,
AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) The Pepsi Center remains Dwyane Wade’s personal house of horrors.
The Miami Heat star fell to 0-6 in Denver when Carmelo Anthony and Nene led the Nuggets to a 114-96 rout Thursday night.
Denver is the only city where Wade has never won in his seven seasons in the NBA.
“That’s a great thing,” Anthony said. “Obviously, we as a team are doing something really, really good out there.”
Wade, who snapped an 0-11 skid at Indiana earlier this season, had high hopes for another breakthrough against the Nuggets – 96-88 losers last month in Miami. But he was stifled by the defense of Aaron Afflalo and J.R. Smith before finally sinking some late jumpers long after the game was out of reach.
Wade is stumped over why he always feels so low in the Mile High City.
“I don’t know. They’re better than us in this building,” he said. “They’re better than us a majority of the time we’ve been here. I think they’re 11-3 vs. us. The style of play, especially here, getting out, they’ve got a lot of athletic guys around the basket, this is a good ballclub.”
Despite Wade’s 25 points, this one wasn’t close. The Nuggets led by 29 before both coaches emptied their benches early in the fourth quarter.
Anthony, the league’s leading scorer, led the Nuggets with 22 points, and five of his teammates reached double figures, too, including Smith, who scored all 16 of his points in the first half.
Anthony, the only player in the NBA to score at least 20 points in every game, was stuck at 17 early in the fourth quarter when Afflalo was seated beneath the scorer’s desk, ready to check in for him. But Anthony sank two free throws and then hit a 3-pointer before the next dead ball, extending his streak.
“I knew I was coming out,” said Anthony, who insisted he had no idea of his point total until after his night was done. “If I would have known that, I would have told George (Karl), ‘Just leave me in there.’
“It’s a cool streak. Hopefully I’ll keep it going.”
After coming out, Anthony made a dash to the locker room, leading to speculation he was hurt.
“I got Kaopectate in my hand,” Anthony said, showing reporters the bottle of medicine that’s used to treat diarrhea. “You guys do the math.”
Despite Wade’s 25 points, his night was epitomized by the 3-pointer he took from the left corner in the third quarter that rang the rim twice and spun out just as it appeared to be falling through the hoop.
Wade also drew a technical foul in the third quarter seconds after his coach was T’d up as the Nuggets were expanding their lead past 25.
Wade got off to a rough start, making just one of eight shots in the first quarter.
“I would have loved to get more open looks,” Wade said. “They were doing a good job. It was no secret what they were doing, sending two guys. My teammates got to do a better job of making sure they get me open. We’ve got to continue to work the game, know what teams are going to do, don’t be surprised when they send two guys, even three.”
None of his teammates’ shots were falling, either, so the Heat couldn’t make the Nuggets pay for their focus on Wade.
“I want us to capitalize on it,” Wade said. “I feel it’s disrespectful to my teammates when they send two or three guys. I want us to capitalize. When we don’t capitalize that’s when it gets frustrating to me because I’m a willing passer, I want other guys to succeed, I want to make the game easy. We’ve got to capitalize more often.”
Nene scored nine of his 15 points in an 13-0 second-quarter run that broke open a close game, giving the Nuggets a 42-28 lead. The Heat went five minutes without scoring, and Chauncey Billups and Anthony were on the bench for most of that time.
“The bottom just fell out,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We couldn’t put together any kind of stops and offensively we weren’t executing with any kind of pace, energy or passion. We’re better than this. We’ve shown that.”
The Nuggets took a 58-42 halftime lead, and it was more of the same in the second half as the Heat looked nothing like the team that that pounded Portland on Tuesday night to begin their four-game Western swing.
“We just felt to be aggressive on Wade was the best way to start, and fortunately we didn’t have to change,” Karl said. “He kind of picked Portland apart but we felt our bigs could get into a double-team a little more. Until the end of the third, when he started making some jump shots, I thought we did as good a job as you can on a great player who has the ball an awful lot of the game.”
NOTES: Kenyon Martin scored 12 points before drawing back-to-back technical fouls late in the third quarter and getting ejected by referee Monty McCutchen. … Wade, who was sidelined in his first trip to Denver as a rookie, has scored an average of 24.6 points in Denver but lost by an average of 13.6.
Updated December 4, 2009