The Denver Nuggets dominated despite not playing at their best as they blew out the division rival Utah Jazz 126-113.
The two overriding stories of the game were Melo’s playoff career-high in scoring (42) and Utah center Mehmet Okur’s injury.
The Jazz were already bitten hard by the injury bug, losing forward Andre Kirelinko for the series with a strained calf, Carlos Boozer has a strained oblique and is day-to-day, and Okur had a sore Achillies that would hold him out of any regular season contest.
But Okur pushed himself, since it’s playoff timem and completely ruptured his Achillies tendon in the first quarter. The loss of Okur means much for the Jazz, including their best three point threat percentage-wise, and their best rebounding presence.
With both Kirilinko and Okur out, it leaves a gaping void in the middle for the Jazz on either end.
And without the two, Melo was unconscious all night.
Carmelo Anthony scored from distance, in the mid-range game and driving the ball to the hoop. Down the stretch, the Nuggets ran the same play to him numerous times in a row, as Melo posted from the corner of the key on smaller defenders and shot beautifully over them.
Nothing could stop the Melo man as he personally carried the Nuggets through their usual slumping third quarter with 15 points, and put the nails in the coffin with another 13 in the fourth.
But, even though Denver blew out Utah in the box score, the Jazz will not give up without a fight and this series is just getting warmed up.
To wit: As this article is being completed, the Utah Jazz fought extremely tough through adversity and defeated the Nuggets in Denver 114-111. The series is all tied up at one now, heading to Salt Lake City for two games where the Jazz were dominant at home (32-9).