Melo, Iverson together at last
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
DENVER — Carmelo Anthony's suspension is over. Let the suspense begin.
The day after the NBA's leading scorer was banned for 15 games for fighting, the Denver Nuggets acquired seven-time All-Star Allen Iverson, who was the league's second-leading scorer at the time.
Can two high-scoring superstars coexist?
Sure, Iverson said, insisting he's carried the load for so long in his career that he's ready to serve as wingman to the 22-year-old Anthony.
"I've never played with nobody that good," Iverson said.
Anthony hasn't, either, and he, too, swears there won't be any problems playing alongside A.I. After all, he thrived with the U.S. team at the world championships last summer while playing with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
"I can't wait to play with Allen," he said. "It's going to be great."
Iverson said offense won't be a problem when Anthony gets back, and Anthony agrees.
"I think it's going to take some time to get a rhythm for everybody when I come back," Anthony suggested. "We all got to make an adjustment. It's going to take a couple of games."
Anthony, who returns from his 36-day absence Monday night when the Nuggets face the Memphis Grizzlies at the Pepsi Center, said in an open letter of apology to fans and the team on Sunday that he'll return as a better player and a better person.
He'll also return to a lineup that's much different from the one he last saw on Dec. 16, when he clocked New York Knicks guard Mardy Collins, who had collared J.R. Smith on the way to the basket, leading to a brawl that resulted in 10 ejections and seven suspensions.
The day after the suspensions were handed down, the Nuggets sent Andre Miller, Joe Smith and two first-round draft picks to Philadelphia for Iverson. Then, they dealt Earl Boykins and Julius Hodge to Milwaukee for Steve Blake, who helped the Nuggets win their last three games to finish 7-8 without Anthony.
Coach George Karl has spent countless hours concocting plays to complement both his superstars.
"They are both great offensive players," Karl said. "I'm not into this (notion) that it won't work. I think great players like to play with great players. Sometimes it's not as perfect and fluid as the San Antonio Spurs or teams like that. But normally in time you can figure that if they will cooperate and move the ball and pass the ball, good stuff will happen."
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