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Nuggets Advance With Win Over Mavs

May 14, 2009 – 12:50 AM
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Matt Watson

Matt Watson %BloggerTitle%

Carmelo AnthonyIn hindsight, Monday's gut-wrenching loss to the Mavericks in Game 4 was a blessing in disguise for the Nuggets, allowing them to trade the hostile crowds of the American Airlines Center for a more welcome environment at the Pepsi Center. And in front of an appreciative fan base that hasn't seen the hometown team advance past the second round since 1984, the Nuggets took care of business with a 124-110 win.

Just like they've done the entire postseason, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups led the way with obscene efficiency: Anthony poured in 30 points (13-22 shooting) while Billups added 28 (10-16 shooting) with 12 assists. The Nuggets jumped out to a 14-point lead at halftime and matched every run Dallas made in the second half.
Nuggets 124, Mavericks 110: Recap | Box Score
- Nuggets Win Series -


When the Mavs' front office reflects this summer on what went wrong and how they can improve, at least they can rest assured the foundation is strong: Dirk Nowitzki lived up his franchise cornerstone billing the entire playoffs. He poured in another 32 points and 10 boards tonight, averaging 34.4 points and 11.6 boards over the five-game series with the Nuggets.

No, the Mavericks' difficulty matching up with the Nuggets starts from the bottom up -- Denver is just too deep for most teams to contend with on any given night. Jason Terry won the league's Sixth Man of the Year award for his work in the regular season, but J.R. Smith (18 points in 29 minutes) essentially nullified him the entire series by bringing as much firepower off the bench.

And while the Nuggets don't have a single big man capable of matching up with Nowitzki, their three-big rotation of Nene (17 points on 8-10 shooting), Kenyon Martin (15 points, four steals) and Chris Andersen more than handled every Dallas big man of non-German descent.

So while Anthony and Billups will get most of the headlines -- and deservedly so, they've been consistently excellent the entire postseason -- understand that it's been an entire team effort that's responsible for Denver advancing as far as they have.

Latest NBA Playoff Photos

    DENVER - MAY 13: J.R. Smith #1 of the Denver Nuggets reacts to a play against the Dallas Mavericks during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on May 13, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** J.R. Smith

    NBAE/Getty Images

    Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, right, falls back to make a shot over Dallas Mavericks center Erick Dampier, front left, and guard Josh Howard in the third quarter of the Nuggets' 124-110 victory in Game 5 of an NBA Western Conference semifinal in Denver on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. The Nuggets advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1985. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

    AP

    Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, heads off the court after the Denver Nuggets' 124-110 victory over the Mavericks in Game 5 of an NBA Western Conference semifinal in Denver on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. The Nuggets advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1985. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

    AP

    Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, left, is congratulated by Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle after the Nuggets' 124-110 victory in Game 5 of an NBA Western Conference semifinal in Denver on Wednesday, May 13, 2009. The Nuggets advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1985. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

    AP

    DENVER - MAY 13: Kenyon Martin #4 of the Denver Nuggets throws it down against the Dallas Mavericks during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on May 13, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kenyon Martin

    NBAE/Getty Images

    Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin (R) rubs the head of Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd after Kidd took a hard fall in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoffs in Denver May 13, 2009 REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith swoops off the court near the end of Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks in Denver May 13, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

    Reuters

    Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin celebrates a slam dunk in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks in Denver May 13, 2009 REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin celebrates a slam dunk in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks in Denver May 13, 2009 REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Denver Nuggets forward Nene celebrates a slam dunk by teammate Kenyon Martin against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoffs in Denver May 13, 2009 REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

    Reuters

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