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News » Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-04-30

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-04-30

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-04-30
Bring on Dallas. Heck, bring on Dallas, the Lakers and Cleveland.

That's pretty much how the Nuggets are feeling these days after advancing out of the first round for the first time since 1994.

After dispatching the New Orleans Hornets in five games, the Nuggets move on to face the Dallas Mavericks in a series that should be fast-paced and entertaining. Though the Mavs are playing well, the Nuggets are carrying a confidence not seen in Denver since Dikembe Mutombo was protecting the paint, Robert Pack was driving the lane and Dan Issel was roaming the sideline.

"Our confidence is very high right now," said point guard Chauncey Billups. "We're feeling really good about how we're playing, the unselfishness of the team and how we're locked in on defensive coverages."

Adding to the confidence is a 4-0 record against the Mavericks during the regular season.

"Anytime you can beat a tem 4-0 in the regular season, it sticks with you," forward Carmelo Anthony said. "I'm pretty sure they're going to come out fired up with that in the back of their minds. But in the playoffs, everything starts out fresh and we're prepared for that."

Thanks to the home-court advantage and a comfortable matchup against Dallas, the Nuggets are not shy about thinking big. With Billups running the point and Anthony enjoying a breakout postseason, the Nugs believe they can reach the Western Conference finals and maybe even the NBA Finals.

"Being around here all year, everybody's putting all the emphasis on the first round. I shoot higher than that," said Billups, who won the 2004 NBA title with the Detroit Pistons. "That's just the first step."

After being quickly airbrushed from the playoffs in each of the last five years, the Nuggets finally appear poised to stick around a while.

NUGGETS 107, HORNETS 86: It was hardly the 58-point blowout of two nights earlier, but the Nuggets eventually imposed their will on New Orleans one final time.

Carmelo Anthony scored a playoff career-high 34 points and J.R. Smith scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, helping Denver pull away late in the third quarter.

With the game tied at 62, the Nuggets went on a 14-0 run that featured three 3-pointers and an old-fashioned three-point play by Anthony.

Denver built the lead to as many as 24 and was never threatened, much to the delight of a sellout crowd that started chanting, "We want Dallas" early in the fourth quarter.

"In the first half, we were trying to win the game all in one possession," Anthony said. "Halftime, we rallied and told everybody, 'Look, let's take our time. Let's execute plays and the game is going to come to us.'"

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 30, 2009


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