Nuggets steal spotlight from Carmelo Anthony's return to Denver

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NBA,Craig Stouffer

It was supposed to be about the New York Knicks when Carmelo Anthony plays his first game in Denver since leaving the Nuggets on Wednesday (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.). Instead it's the hosts who are pushing for attention.

The Nuggets are riding a nine-game winning streak that includes wins over the Lakers, Thunder and Clippers. (It started after the Wizards completed a season sweep of Denver on Feb. 22.) Firmly in possession of at least the fifth seed in the Western Conference, they could push as high as third before the playoffs arrive. As the best team in the NBA with a losing road record, only the top four will do.

The D.C. area's own Ty Lawson (17.0 ppg, 7.1 apg) is playing at an All-Star snub level. With every victory, JaVale McGee (9.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.0 bpg) has to be taken more seriously, too, which feels like fingernails on a chalkboard in Washington. But just as with Denver's record away from home, there's still reason to be hesitant about McGee. He was solid in last year's playoff wins but struggled in the Nuggets' losses.

- Craig Stouffer

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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