May 13 2009. That date will forever be remembered by Nuggets fan alike as it marked the fist time they have made it to the conference finals since 84-85. Led by the home town hero Chauncey Billups, and teammate Carmelo Anthony the Denver Nuggets beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-110.
Howard started off the game by hitting a three and climbing the Mavericks to an early 10-7 lead. That was the last lead the Mavericks would get through out the game. Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and two of those came from a spectacular mini Dr. J layup.
"It's special. We worked hard in the off season and training camp and throughout,'' Anthony said. "We stuck to everything, we overcame adversity, we stayed humble and our hard work paid off.''
The closest the Mavericks got was when it was 79-72. That was when made five straight treys, three of them coming front J-Kidd. Mavericks did rally in the fourth quarter and it seemed that they could tie the game, possibly even take the lead.
Carmelo said no, not today. Anthony hit an off balanced three with one second left on the clock to set the crowd off. Antoine Wright, the Sasha Vujacic of the series, was then given a technical foul for pushing J.R Smith.
"That 'Melo three was a killer,'' Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki said. "We get the technical on top. Back to 10 points.''
"Yeah, that was a spark,'' Anthony said. "If I told you I knew it was going in, I'd be lying to you. That was a lucky shot. It went in. I think that shot right there sparked the momentum for us.''
Billups recorded his first double-double of the post season and extends his streak to seven straight conference finals appearances. He finished the game with 28 points 12 assists and 7 rebounds.
Nene who is now proven to be a great home game player had 17 points and 7 rebounds on 8-10 shooting. He is averaging 16 PPG at home in the playoffs, and 7.3 PPG at away games in the playoffs.
"I think our team is a good basketball team, a very good basketball team. And I have a feeling that we're not going to be messed up by the next round. We're going to make a team beat us,'' Karl said. "We can live with that. But we're not going to give it to anybody. We're going to go after it.''