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'Melo scores 34 against NBA vets

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Anthony leads all scorers with 34 points

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Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- LeBron James played a little ball Sunday and clearly enjoyed himself.

LeBron James, left, had 28 points to help the incoming rookies win Sunday.

Following a shaky first half, the teenager showed what he could do in his first formal game against NBA veterans, although the intensity wasn't close to what it'll be when the season begins in three months.

James scored eight of his 28 points in the final five minutes and Carmelo Anthony had 34 points to lead a group of incoming rookies to a 127-123 victory over a star-studded squad of veterans in the 18th annual Magic Johnson charity game at Staples Center.

"I felt pretty good,'' said James, who went straight from high school to the NBA as the first pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in last month's draft. "We're just having fun and doing what we love to do -- play basketball.

"No nerves -- the first half, we were just having fun. The second half, we wanted to win the game. It was a charity game.''

And win the game the rookies did, despite the presence of such stars as Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker of the Boston Celtics, Baron Davis of the New Orleans Hornets, Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers, Shawn Marion of the Phoenix Suns and Gary Payton and Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers.

No official statistics were kept. Unofficially, James shot 5-of-15 including 1-of-6 on 3-point shots in the first half and 6-of-10 including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc in the second half.

The rest of his game was much sounder after intermission as well.

Johnson, one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, was quite impressed with both James and Anthony, who played one season at Syracuse -- leading the Orangemen to the NCAA championship -- before turning pro.

Anthony was the third overall pick in the draft by Denver.

"Unbelievable, silky smooth, understanding of the game,'' Johnson said of the rookie stars. "That's what I'm really impressed with -- their understanding of the game.

"I didn't know Carmelo could shoot like that with range. LeBron is big and strong. I'm more excited after seeing them today, they're going to be very good in this league. They both have fun, too.''

Johnson perhaps saw a modern-day version of himself in the 6-foot-8 James.

"LeBron at the point -- I think he should do it,'' Johnson said. "He has the passing skills and the knowledge to get it done.''

If anyone should know what it takes, it's Johnson.

"He has to get used to playing against quicker guards,'' Johnson added.

Anthony's reverse left-handed layup with 40 seconds left snapped a 123-all tie, and James put a capper on the game with a flying dunk at the buzzer, drawing one of the loudest reactions from the Staples Center crowd of over 16,000.

"I've been playing against him since he was a sophomore in high school, I already knew he could play,'' said Quentin Richardson of the Los Angeles Clippers, who led the veterans with 26 points.

"I hope the media doesn't put too much on him, lets him grow,'' Richardson said. "I'm not sure that's going to happen.''

James, 18, said he doesn't believe expectations are too high.

"I've been succeeding at everything I've been doing,'' he said. "I'm just playing my game, man -- being myself.''

James recently played in four summer league games for the Cavaliers, averaging 15.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists against mostly young, inexperienced players.

He showed flashes of brilliance at times and inexperience at others, and it was the same kind of thing in this game.

"He'll be fine,'' Walker said. "He'll struggle a little bit. He's athletic enough that he'll be fine.''

At times, it appeared the veterans went at James harder on defense than his teammates.

"Anytime anybody's in the game and they're supposed to be the best, you're going to guard them,'' said Artest, who scored 19 points.

"He's not a kid, he's a grown man,'' Lamar Odom of the Clippers said of James. "That's what the NBA's about -- it's competitive.''

Jarvis Hayes added 20 points and Jason Kapono scored 17 for the rookies.

Nobody other than Richardson and Artest had more than 12 for the veterans, and such players as Davis, Payton, Fisher, Pierce, Walker, and Marion saw limited action.

The game culminated four days of events benefiting the Magic Johnson Foundation's Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program, named for the former chief operating officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises who died in 1997.

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Do you think not drafting this guy was a mistake? I wanted the Pistons to get in the top 3 specifically for this guy. Then we heard that's there's a Melo in every draft. What? How many freshman put-up his numbers and lead their team to an NCAA championship.

Then we heard that you can't teach height and you can't pass-up a 7-footer with skills. How many 7-footers with skills have been busts?

I hope for the Pistons' sake Darko is not a bust, but for all of us who envisioned Melo in a Pistons' uniform even before the draft, it would hurt extra hard.

Let's hope the 34 pt. game is not a sign of things to come.

Good luck Pistons/Darko. Looks like you may need it [please see Sam Bowie and Pervis Ellison].

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This is a draft pick we won't know probably anything for certain for at least another two to three years. Was it a risk - probably. But it was probably a risk worth taking. I have yet to see the guy actually play so I really can't comment on Darko much. However, if you have a guy that's seven feet and has tons of promise you can't give that up.

What people are saying about "every draft having an Anthony" is that there are many talented players in the NBA that are his physical dimenions - one of Darko's stature doesn't come along very often.

We all understand if Anthony lights it up for 25 a night MCO is going to post those games all year long - espeically if Darko doesn't play much. However, there isn't a person here who I really think expects Darko to be an impact player immediately next season. Come back in 2-3 years and let's see what happens. It may pan out - it may not. Was it a gamble worth taking? Right now with what we have on our current squad - I'd say yes.

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I understand completely that Darko is a work in progress, but my points on the matter...

1.) The Pistons have the chance to win now. Make the move that makes sense to win in the present.

2.) "You can't teach 7 foot" is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard.

3.) There may be a star forward in the draft every year, but 'Melo is one of a kind. He's the first player in 50 years to lead his college to a national championship as a freshman and be awarded the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament.

That all said, I trust Joe Dumars. I'm having trouble with trusting him on this move though. Screw the hype, I have a feeling that years from now we'll be talking about the Pistons taking Darko like the Blazers taking Sam Bowie. I hope not though since I am a Pistons fan first.

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I'd still take Darko :classic:

I have a bet going, and if Carmelo Anthony plays four years in Denver, I lose 50 bucks.

STAY TUNED.

Cause he won't -- stay in Denver :chinese:

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MCO,

I haven't bought into the Darko hype at all. I know I've never said him to be the second coming of anything. That would be ridiculous for me to say since anyone can be a bust and considering I've yet to see this guy even play one actual second of live basketball.

I have my reservations about the Darko pick as well and that's why I called it a gamble. I'm not sold that Darko will be an NBA All-star by any stretch. But then again - as I said earlier - no one is a guarentee.

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Darko's situation is sort of like a heavyweight wrestler.

The lightweights can compete at the collegiate level or prep level immediately because the physical size isn't that demanding and it's not such big deal.

However, a 275 pounder or a 215 pounder has to "grow" and mature into their bodies. Just from the pictures I've seen of Darko, that's going to be an issue for him. Just as it will be for Kaman. When you are talking about extreme-sized players like that it's just a matter of patience to see if they develop or not.

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When I read all of the stories about Darko, I expected to see this giant monster of a man who threw down the ball with thunderous dunks and was the 2nd coming. For all of the highlights that I've seen, I have no clue how the hype is of the same player. We'll see how good he becomes, but regardless, I think it was a bad pick simply because of the fact that he's not a player that can deliver now.

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I trust in NBA scouts, and Joe Dumars.

It's not that I don't think 'Melo will be a good player -- I think he'll be better than LeBron, but I don't see him staying in Denver, for his entire career. I have read a lot about Darko, and from guys who have not only seen him workout, but have seen him play -- and I respect their opinion. If I had the top three pics, I'd of taken them/Darko, 'Melo, LeBron.

PEACE

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Just because one person says something doesn't mean he's notorious. Wow, a young good looking guy with a ton of money likes strip clubs. Who knew?

Maybe Melon will become notorious in a Shawn Kemp kind of way... 7 or 8 kids with about 5 women.

"How come your brothers have different last names?"

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Oblong, they had the public relations manager for Scores in NYC on the radio. It seems that Darko is a nightly customer and is becoming known for having dropped several grand there since the NBA draft.

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uh yeah I know that. Scores is pretty famous, lots of famous people go there. He's probably not the only NBA player to go there every night. I bet wherever Carmello is living, he's spending his free time in one, as is Lebron and every other high draft pick who's got a lot of money already.

That's not news. It's only in the news because Darko is living there nad that happens to be the most famous one in the world.

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Carmelo Anthony had 34 points to lead a group of incoming rookies to a 127-123 victory over a star-studded squad of veterans in the 18th annual Magic Johnson charity game at Staples Center.
It was a darn charity game... Not something to get excited over when someone drops 34 points. The defense is probably worse than in an All-Star game. Who cares. :tired:

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zzzzzzz....

LOGIC in the form of WebGuy...

Thank You so much for inserting some reality into this.

127-123...about 30-40 pts per team above a real NBA game

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and I wonder if the vets were told to let up quite a bit so that the kids could shine. That way it gets people talking and hypes them up.

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Hey -- this just in -- I scored 28 points last night, in a pickup game :classic:

I'm gonna play again tonight, but this time, I am gonna videotape the game -- and will tell people I am from Spain, and by this time next week, I will be in every 2004 MOCK DRAFT!

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David Stern steps up to the podium, and says... With the fourth pick, in the NBA DRAFT...the Charlotte Bobcats select -- Jon Benke, from Spain, and the C.S., International League. :classic:

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I trust in NBA scouts, and Joe Dumars

How can't you, I have never heard Dumars talk about a player as he did Darko. It wasn't like he weighed his options, he knew immediately. Having said that, Brown is saying that Piston fans shouldn't be surprised not to see Darko get significant minutes this season and that will cause second guessing because James and Anthony will contribute. But, over the next couple of years that will end.

By the time the Cavs and Denver even sniff a 50 win season, Darko will be competing for championships on a team with a dominant front court. In recent memory these are the teams that win, not the Pierce, McGrady, Iverson superstar type teams.

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