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News » Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2008-11-29

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2008-11-29

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2008-11-29
The Nuggets lost a game but got back J.R. Smith.

Denver fell 105-101 at home Thursday to New Orleans. But there was still one encouraging sign.

Smith, a guard who was benched the night before on the road against the Clippers for being late for a practice, returned and scored a game-high 32 points.

"He had a great offensive game," said Nuggets coach George Karl. "We need him to become more consistent off the bench. I think we got that. We got a spectacular game. Hopefully we'll continue to get more like them."

Smith shot 13-of-21, including 5-of-9 on three pointers. He keyed spurts after the Nuggets had fallen behind by 12 points in the second quarter and 14 in the third quarter.

"He came through like a true professional," said Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony. "To be benched (Wednesday) night and have that performance shows he put it behind him and moved on. I love what he did."

Smith has had an up-and-down tenure in Denver. But it was mostly up late last season, and he got a three-year, $16.5 million contract last summer as a restricted free agent.

Smith hasn't had many off-the-court problems this season, although he has shot poorly one the court. But Smith bounced back in a big way against the Hornets.

HORNETS 105, NUGGETS 101: J.R. Smith sure didn't run out of gas. Perhaps his teammates did.

While many of his teammates logged big minutes the previous night on the road against the Clippers, Smith didn't play -- he was benched by coach George Karl for being late for a practice.

Smith bounced back in a big way Thursday at the Pepsi Center, scoring a game-high 32 points. But the Nuggets faltered down the stretch and fell to New Orleans.

The decisive points came on a three-pointer by Hornets forward James Posey with 19.1 seconds left for a 101-98 lead.

"I don't think I've ever been in a game where so much good fortune went to one team," said Nuggets coach George Karl, who spoke of several plays down the stretch in which the balls bounced right to the Hornets for baskets or possessions.

Karl also couldn't believe the "30-foot three-pointer" by Hornets guard Chris Paul that tied the score 92-92 with 2:05 left after the Nuggets had led 86-81 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Nuggets held Paul to just two points in the first half. But he erupted for 20 of his 22 points in the second, and he had 10 assists.

After Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups missed a three-pointer with 11 seconds left, forward Peja Stojakovic gave the Hornets a safe 103-98 lead with two foul shots with 7.4 seconds left.

At least Smith got redemption. But it wasn't enough against the Hornets, who had rested in Denver on Wednesday night while the Nuggets didn't get home from Los Angeles until the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Smith shot 13-of-21, including 5-of-9 on three pointers.

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony added 24 points and almost brought the Nuggets back after they had fallen behind 98-94. Anthony was fouled on a three-point attempt by Posey with 40.3 seconds left and made the first two foul shots.

Anthony missed the third, but Nene got the rebound and passed to Anthony for a dunk that tied the score 98-98 with 37.3 seconds left. But then Posey hit his big three-pointer.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 29, 2008


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