When the dust finally settled from this week’s Carmelo Anthony trade, Nuggets fans found a fully-functional team hosting the Boston Celtics at the Pepsi Center on Thursday night.
After the Nuggets beat the best team in the Eastern Conference, 89-75, Nuggets fans filed out of the Pepsi Center with a feeling they haven’t experienced since Anthony arrived as a rookie out of Syracuse in 2003.
There’s something in the air in Denver, and for the first time in a while, it’s not a superstar with the highest salary and the most complaints on the team. The oppressive reign of Carmelo Anthony was lifted Thursday, and the Nuggets showed what they can do with their controlling, spoiled All-Star out of town.
Instead of two guys, Chauncey Billups and Anthony, controlling the floor and inevitably losing close games, Denver’s now got several who can share the ball and keep the opponent on its toes.
It’s almost like a large gray cloud has been moved from above the Pepsi Center, one that has held Nuggets fans under its gloominess for years. For the last two years, we’ve worried about Anthony. Is he happy here? Will he leave town? Can the Nuggets afford to extend his contract?
Thursday, we learned to let go of these worries. We didn’t realize it at the time, but Anthony caused more distress for Denver than success. He complained about his contract, his teammates and the city, and he could never bring a ring to Denver like we expected him to.
Nuggets fans, we can forget about all of that now. Our team is as deep as ever. We’ve got new star players that have just been dying to get the ball a few times ever since they became stuck in Anthony's and Billups’s shadows.
Arron Afflalo had 13 and three assists while Kenyon Martin scored 18 and collected 10 rebounds. Newcomer Wilson Chandler had 16 of his own, including three 3-pointers.
Everyone on the team’s re-energized, and Nuggets fans now have a very good reason to be excited. The guys that couldn’t get us to the finals are gone, and coach George Karl is now coaching the “best team [he’s] ever had”, which handily beat the Boston Celtics with both defense and timely offense.
Still, if you’re not ecstatic about this team, the fact that Kenyon Martin hit his second 3-pointer of the season has to excite you. It seems like everyone played better than usual on Thursday.
Even Anthony’s jealous now, after Karl said, “Defensive focus, his demand of himself, is what frustrated us more than anything,” about the newest New York Knick. Anthony sniped back twice at the comments on Twitter, saying, “WHEN THE GRASS IS CUT THE SNAKES WILL SHOW.”
Thanks for the warning, Carmelo, but we’ve already cut the grass, and the snakes have left town. We can smell it.
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