The Denver Nuggets topped the Phoenix Suns 126-113. That was the final score of Thursday's contest between the two Western Conference foes and the underdog prevailed.
However, I now believe Denver is no underdog. This was a statement game. Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony combined for 61 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists in the win. I may sound like a broken record, but when the tandem gets hot, they are unstoppable.
Denver is 24-7 at home, and only a game out of the 8th seed in the West. They are even creeping up on first place in their division, being only three games out. Carmelo is having one of his best years as a pro, seeing numerous stats increase from prior seasons. Allen Iverson is starting to fit into the role of a veteran guard.
Let me diagnose this team individually to give a further explanation of why I think this team is an elite team in the Western Conference.
Who needs Chucky Atkins?
Anthony Carter has done a solid job as the floor general this season, with his perimeter defense and veteran leadership. Carter at times, has been known to catch the hot hand from beyond the arc, evident by the career year he's having in that department.
Anthony is also having career years in rebounding, steals, points, assists, free throws, and field goal percentage. His 1.6 steals per game is good for 19th best in the league.
A.I. has continued to pour it on in whatever uniform he dons.
Currently, Iverson is 3rd best on the career scoring list for points per game average. It is almost impossible for Allen to have a career year; if he did he would definitely be Hall of Famer worthy.
He is also the leading scorer on his team, and third in the NBA at 26.7 a game, only trailing Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.
This kid just keeps getting better with age.
Carmelo is starting to make better decisions offensively, and it reflects on his career low turnover average this year. This has been Anthony's best year in rebounding, 3pt percentage, free throws, and blocks at 25.9 points per game. He's fourth best in the NBA in scoring, just behind his counterpart and sixth in field goals made.
The face of the franchise is beginning to mature into maybe the best small forward in the game today.
Sure the numbers have dropped, and Denver didn't exactly get what they thought they were getting when they signed him, but Martin has come out of his funk as of late scoring 65 points in his last four games.
You can blame prior knee injuries and surgeries as the culprit for Kenyon's lackluster play over the years, but at age 30 he's done a decent job at the four spot for the Nuggets.
While he may not be able to jump 50 feet in the air, and throw down ''Shawn Kemp like'' dunks as he did in New Jersey, he still brings spirit and a body in the paint.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year is still managing to post jaw dropping numbers on the defensive side, averaging a shade under four blocks per game (1st in the NBA) and surprising fans like me with his long distance game.
Camby also leads the league in total blocks, rebounds and blocks per 48 minutes, and is second in defensive rebounds and total rebounds.
The 6-11 center, has matured and come so far from his days in New York, in which many thought he would be a lifelong bench player, to a All-Star snub, and one of the best at his position in the game!