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News » Nugs turn off Heat Andersen sets the tone with three blocks and 10 rebounds as Smith contains Miami's Wade. NUGGETS 114, HEAT 96

Nugs turn off Heat Andersen sets the tone with three blocks and 10 rebounds as Smith contains Miami's Wade. NUGGETS 114, HEAT 96

Nugs turn off Heat Andersen sets the tone with three blocks and 10 rebounds as Smith contains Miami's Wade. NUGGETS 114, HEAT 96The human and the Birdman leapt toward the basket simultaneously, the human armed with a Basketball, the Birdman with wings.

Michael Beasley (human), clutching the Spalding and false hope, soared to the basket for a dunk, but Chris Andersen (Birdman) hammered the ball from his hands, scooped up possession, whipped it down court and watched from his perch in the opposing paint as J.R. Smith swished a 3-pointer.

The Nuggets didn't just win Thursday. They slaughtered. The 114-96 outcome against Miami detailed Denver's offensive defense. By halftime, the Nuggets led 58-42 and the Heat was shooting just 34.9 percent. For the night, Miami climbed to 42.7 percent, which still isn't very good, considering it was playing under the wrath of the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets have lost just once all season.

"Just pride, man," said Denver's Chauncey Billups, who had seven assists and no turnovers. "Everyone stepped up, especially knowing against a great player in Dwyane Wade. Just takes pride to say, 'Not tonight."'

Andersen had played more "Andersen" games than "Birdman" games this season, but after swatting five shots Tuesday, he blocked three more Thursday against the Heat (10-8), in addition to nine points and 10 rebounds - not bad, considering he only plated 28 minutes.

And Smith, another explosive reserve, played some energetic defense on Wade, the No. 6 scorer in the NBA this season. Denver started Arron Afflalo on Wade, but Afflalo picked up three fouls in six minutes, so Smith got the privilege of guarding Wade and, you know what, Smith wasn't that bad. By halftime, the reigning scoring champion was just 2-for-10 from the field.

"He was being aggressive," Denver's Carmelo Anthony said of Smith. "And it started on the defensive end, getting in passing lanes, denying. And offensively, he knew how Miami guards me with 2-3 guys, so that opened it up for him."

As for the current scoring leader, Anthony wasn't much better. He was just 3-for-11 at the half, and there was much consternation during the finish quarter as to whether Melo would get 20 points (he's the only player in Basketball this season to have scored 20-plus points in every game).

Stuck on 17 - and with Afflalo waiting at the scorer's table to replace him in garbage time - Anthony made two free throws and then splashed a 3 from the top of the key. And the streak is alive and well.

Smith's defense was noteworthy but his offense was creative and confident, notably in the second quarter when Denver pulled away (he went to the locker room with 16 points).

Smith made some sharp passes and punished Miami with his penetration, something Miami didn't see in the Nov. 6 matchup, when he was still suspended.

Benjamin Hochman: 303-954-1294 or

------------- Battle of the stars

It was a pretty mundane night for the two big shots in

Thursday's game, Miami's

Dwyane Wade and the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony:




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Added: December 5, 2009


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