The Denver Nuggets recent win, a 132-93 victory over the Toronto Raptors, caused the firing of former head coach Sam Mitchell.
Carmelo Anthony registered 23 points on 9-19 shooting and 2-4 from beyond the arc. Anthony was forced to leave because of unwanted elbow trouble he sustained against the Houston Rockets a game earlier.
Floor general Chauncey Billups poured in 24 points and dished out 14 assists, his second straight double-double and third overall in a Nuggets’ uniform. Rejuvenated Brazilian center Nene also notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and went 8-9 from the floor to pad his league-best 64 percent in field goals.
Since Billups’ arrival, the Nuggets’ are 12-3 (13-6 overall) and have established new season-highs in points scored, field goal, free throw percentage, and three-point shooting while leaving opponents stymied like the Bobcats whom they held to 80 points.
Denver is 8-5 against Western Conference teams and 4-1 against the Southwest Division this season. On Nov. 19, Denver defeated San Antonio 91-81 on the road, and held All-Star Tim Duncan to only 12 points. However the Spurs were without premiere international players, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who both were out with separate injuries.
This time Parker and Ginobili are healthy, and along with Duncan, the trio combined for 54 points in Tuesday’s 89-77 loss against Detroit.
With a win, the Nuggets will tie Portland atop the Northwest Division. Portland’s next game is Friday against the Boston Celtics (18-2) who possess the best record in the NBA.