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News » NUGGETS 105, SUNS 99 Billups' offense back in business Denver gets a big boost in the fourth quarter from the guard.


NUGGETS 105, SUNS 99 Billups' offense back in business Denver gets a big boost in the fourth quarter from the guard.


NUGGETS 105, SUNS 99 Billups' offense back in business Denver gets a big boost in the fourth quarter from the guard. Mr. Big Shot is back.

Chauncey Billups has the nickname for a reason, and Saturday night that reason was making huge baskets when the Nuggets needed them most.

Boy, did they need them.

The Phoenix Suns , left for dead in the conversation of the Western Conference's best teams, instead are a surprise entrant into the conference's contenders. And they are legit. The Nuggets saw them up-close for the first time Saturday at the Pepsi Center, and it almost ended in disaster.

Instead, Billups scored seven critical points in the fourth quarter, and the Nuggets escaped with a 105-99 victory. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and, for the moment, pushed the Suns out of a second-place tie with the Nuggets and the Mavericks in the Western Conference. All three teams entered Saturday with 16-7 records.

"There is no quit in these guys, nobody in this locker room," Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin said. "We stuck in there."

The start frustrated the Nuggets. The end left the Suns fuming.

Steve Nash drove the baseline with 7.9 seconds left, guarded by Nene, who appeared to hit him on the drive. No call. The Nuggets rebounded. Carmelo Anthony got the ball and was fouled.

Before Anthony could take free throws, Suns coach Alvin Gentry was in full verbal attack mode. Two technical fouls later, Gentry was ejected. Anthony made four free throws and the Nuggets went home happy. The Suns were anything but amused.

Asked what he saw on the Nash no-call, Gentry said: "Nothing. I didn't see anything. They didn't call a foul, so obviously it wasn't a foul. I didn't see anything. I'm not giving my money away. So no, I didn't see anything. It was a great call."

Nuggets coach George Karl said, "I didn't think it was a foul, but I haven't studied the video. Nash has a way of leaning and Nene has a really good way of staying big, but not fouling. My feeling is Nene stayed big and didn't foul."

Either way, the result was the Nuggets' 10th win at the Pepsi Center. They have won 20 of their last 21 games at the arena, which has become a

security blanket for them.

Yet, this was as hard-fought

a victory as they come.

The Suns sprinted out to a 17-point lead in the first half before the Nuggets found themselves on the defensive end. Phoenix suffocated Denver's dribble penetration, drawing a number of offensive fouls and forcing turnovers. The Nuggets committed 11 turnovers in the first half and shot just 39 percent from the field.

"We weren't really playing the way we know how to play," Anthony said. "We got a little frustrated amongst everybody. At halftime everybody came in here and everybody's heads were up. We said, 'Let's go fight, let's play hard, keep fighting and let's play the way we know how to play."'

The third quarter was gold. The Nuggets turned up the defensive intensity - and even inserted Anthony Carter, his first action in five games, to help matters on that end. The result was a 30-17 quarter that erased a 13-point halftime deficit and started the fourth tied at 77.

The Nuggets were able to get out to a five-point lead when Billups hit back-to-back 3-

pointers. A free throw by Billups made it a personal seven-

point run and the Nuggets had a 101-97 lead as a result. They held on to win from there.

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279

or cdempsey@denverpost.com


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 15, 2009

 

 
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