SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Tony Parker scored 30 points for San Antonio, Carmelo Anthony labored through a rough game as rumors of an imminent trade slightly cooled, and the Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets 110-97 on Sunday night.
Anthony may have more games in a Nuggets uniform yet. Coach George Karl said before tip-off he wasn’t aware of any drastic changes, and New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson also tried quieting rumors of an upcoming deal.
Talks of a blockbuster trade that would ship Anthony to the Nets have lately intensified. Pressed about the possibility Sunday, Johnson said the Nets’ roster won’t budge between now and Friday, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported.
Anthony, upbeat before the game, scored 12 points on just 5-of-17 shooting.
The NBA-best Spurs (35-6) won their sixth in a row.
Manu Ginobili added 18 points for San Antonio, which beat Denver for a third time and reached the season’s midway mark tied for the third-best first half in NBA history. The last team this dominant through 41 games was Detroit in 2005-06, when the Pistons started 36-5 and wound up losing in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Spurs have a better finish in mind.
They extended their lead in the Southwest Division to eight games over the reeling Dallas Mavericks — their biggest division cushion in nearly 30 years.
Parker was 11 of 15 from the floor and had seven assists.
Reserves Gary Neal and George Hill scored 14 apiece, and Tim Duncan had nine points and 16 rebounds. The Spurs blew the game open with 33-7 run in the second quarter after the Nuggets built a 12-point lead early.
Al Harrington led the Nuggets with 18 points, Nene added 17 and Arron Afflalo 14.
Anthony didn’t speak to reporters before the game. He sang with a wide smile as he strolled through the locker room, but he didn’t look as content while missing two of his first 11 shots.
Karl arrived in San Antonio feeling good about his team, but Denver’s three-game winning streak was halted. The Nuggets have two days off before finding out whether Anthony will be back in the lineup Wednesday against Oklahoma City.
Karl said the Nuggets have to “keep our focus, keep on fighting through the drama.” He added he had not spoken to general manager Masai Ujiri since Friday.
“I’m sure if there’s any drastic change he would’ve called me,” Karl said.
In San Francisco, where the Nets were practicing before their game at Golden State on Monday, Johnson was adamant that no deal was in place.
“The team that you see right now? You’ll see this team in uniform Wednesday,” Johnson said about the Nets, according to the Star-Ledger. “See the team? You’ll see them Wednesday night. You’ll see the same team Wednesday night.”
Johnson said it’ll also be the same Nets team Friday before adding, “End of story.”
Anthony has said he will only put his name to a contract extension with a team that gives him the best shot at a championship. The All-Star has long maintained his dream is to play in New York, and he and his wife, TV personality LaLa Vazquez, have numerous Brooklyn ties.
The Nets are scheduled to move there in 2012, making that potential trade an attractive possibility. But Anthony also thinks everyone is reading too much into his infatuation with the Big Apple.
Notes: Spurs F Matt Bonner did not play because of a sore right knee. … Cincinnati Bengals RB Cedric Benson, who starred at Texas, sat courtside.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)