Nuggets-Mavericks: Denver Proves Too Strong, Seizes 2-0 Series EdgeMay 6, 2009
The dynamic Denver Nuggets were again too multifaceted for the Dallas Mavericks to handle, as Denver dominated at home 117-105.
Denver dictated the pace of the game, dominating Dallas in fast break points 25-9 and basically running them out of the building.
The Nuggets commanded the court 31-22 in the fourth quarter, winning the battle with great defense and superb scoring, and even resting their starters with three minutes left in the contest.
Carmelo Anthony and Nene co-led the Nuggets in scoring with 25 points, and 'Melo was unconscious in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 and putting Dallas away in the process. Nene added eight rebounds and prevailed in the paint, easily scoring over Eric Dampier and Dirk Nowitzki.
In fact, the Nuggets ruled the paint 50-34, getting easy buckets from Nene, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, 'Melo, and the like all night.
Dirk Nowitzki was Dirk, leading the game in scoring with 35, grabbing nine rebounds, but contributing next to nothing on defense.
One of the biggest stories of the game was Josh Howard leaving the game late in the first quarter, admitting to only being at 70 percent pregame due to two bad ankles. He must have tweaked something against Denver's aggressive defense, not being able to finish out in a pivotal Game Two.
Game Two was much less sloppy overall, as Dallas committed only 13 turnovers to Denver's 10, but the Mavericks still were too physically clumsy as the Nuggets outshot them 40-30 from the free throw line.
Rick Carlisle complained about the free throw disparity in Game One but much was the same in Game Two, as Dallas could not compete with Denver's athletic ability.
The Nuggets played great team ball as they nearly reached George Karl's stated total of 30 assists in every game, with 28 in Game Two. Also, Denver out rebounded Dallas 42-37, grabbing loose balls at important points and making them count with smart shots.
After the game, the national media continued to jump on Denver's bandwagon.
During the postgame show Chris Webber, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley were all over the Nugggets, speaking only in a positive way about them the entire time.
After witnessing the dominant Denver win, Webber said: "Dallas is in trouble." Denver stung the Hornets horribly, and their average winning margin in the 2009 playoffs is 22.5 points per game! Easily better than Clevland's second best at 15 points per.
Charles Barkley, for the second time in eight hours reassured his position as the co-captain on the Nuggets bandwagon, second to the Denver faithful, saying: "There are a lot of bad matchups out there for Dallas. They don't have an an answer for Nene, they don't have an answer for 'Melo. Denver has a much better bench."
Kenny "The Jet" Smith seemed to finally jump aboard the Mile High express as he proclaimed: "I didn't realize they were that good. I didn't know they had turned the corner on the defensive end and on ball movement."
Smith finished the postgame show with this quote: "They are the best team in the West right now." That makes it two TNT analysts in under eight hours to jump on the Mile High express.
Barkley did that and more, saying on Pardon The Interruption today that Denver will soon be NBA Champions.
The Denver Nuggets showed for the sixth time in these playoffs that they are one of, if not the deepest team, can play defense at a competitive level, and are capable of outscoring almost any team in the league.
The Nuggets should feel very good going into a four day break between games, as Game Three is at the American Airlines Center on Saturday, May 15 at 5:00 PM ET.
The game should be close, but Denver will compete as they have all year. The Nuggets will play physical once again, getting in Nowitzki, Kidd, and every other Mav's head.
Prediction: Denver 98, Dallas 97.
In The Bonus
The Nuggets have won 16 straight games at home, dating back to March 9. Dallas has an advantage with games three and four at home, going 17-1 in their last 18, but the one loss was to none other than Denver.
Through seven games in the 2009 playoffs, the Nuggets are 6-1, and are second in the playoffs in scoring to the Celtics. The Nuggets are best in field goal, three point, and free throw percentage, too. Also, Denver is second in the playoffs on defense, allowing only 86 points per game.