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News » Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-11

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-11

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-11Don't call him J.R. anymore.

Before returning Tuesday from a seven-game suspension to start the season, Nuggets guard J.R. Smith says he now wants to be known by his given name of Earl Smith III.

"I always learn from my mistakes," said Smith, who believes Earl is a more grownup name than J.R., which referred to junior even if his dad is the junior in the family. "I definitely have a different outlook on life, on basketball, on everything."

Smith has had many off-the-court incidents since entering the NBA straight from high school in 2004. That includes pleading guilty last summer to reckless driving for a 2007 incident in which he got into an accident and a passenger in his car died.

Smith spent 23 days in jail last summer. After his guilty plea, Smith was suspended by the NBA for the season's first seven games.

But Smith returned Tuesday at Chicago. He looked rusty, scoring five points on 1-of-5 shooting in 17 minutes. But Smith did hand out three assists.

Smith says he plans to phase in his new name, although the Nuggets for now will continue to refer to him as J.R.

NUGGETS 90, BULLS 89: A two-game losing streak didn't sit well with the Nuggets or guard Chauncey Billups. But Billups hit the go-ahead foul shot with six-tenths of a second left as Denver won at Chicago.

With Denver up 90-89, Billups intentionally missed the second shot, and Chicago called time out with three-tenths of a second left. However, that was not enough time for the Bulls to get off a 22-footer by Brad Miller. Even though it went in, officials ruled it came after the buzzer.

"I was sitting and laughing," Billups said of the shot that didn't end up counting. "Not so much about the shot, but looking at their reaction. (The Bulls) were dancing and jumping around like they had just made the Sweet 16."

Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 20 points while Billups added 17. Bulls guard Derrick Rose scored a game-high 22 points.

Nuggets coach George Karl won his 939th career game. That enabled him to break a tie with Red Auerbach and move into eighth place on the all-time wins list.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 11, 2009


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