Melo, Bzdelik deny spat
Less than 24 hours after the best performance of his NBA career, Nuggets rookie Carmelo Anthony patiently answered questions about his purportedly contentious relationship with coach Jeff Bzdelik.
Is there a rift between the burgeoning star and the fiercely intense coach?
If so, neither was admitting it Thursday as Denver prepared for its game tonight against the Utah Jazz.
"Everything's cool," Anthony said. "He's going to be a coach. I'm going to be a player. Everything is fine."
Said Bzdelik: "There is no big deal whatsoever. I treat all my players fairly and consistently. We're all in this thing together. I wouldn't be doing my job if I did not tell them the truth and try and bring out the very best in them.
"Carmelo is very, very coachable. He's a very intelligent player. I want him to get better, and I want us to get better."
Talk of a potential power struggle came after Anthony and Bzdelik met privately Tuesday. A night earlier, Bzdelik said he was "bothered" by Anthony's 3-for-10, two-rebound performance during a 24-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
During their meeting, Bzdelik emphasized points such as defense and rebounding - elements that had been lacking from the rookie's game in recent weeks.
Anthony apparently took the criticism personally, saying he and Denver's other four starters have felt handcuffed by Bzdelik's regimented approach.