For the second time in a matter of weeks, history was made for the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night.
The Nuggets finished off their semifinal series with a less athletic and talented Mavericks team 4-1, dominating throughout.
Denver scored an amazing 112.8 points per game, more than six points better than Dallas overall, and Game Five can be thought of as a microcosm of the series as a whole.
The Nuggets had eight more assists and rebounds than the Mavericks, running them up and down the Pepsi Center floor, and creating second-chance points for themselves.
Denver outran Dallas to the tune of 16-6, relatively modest numbers for the explosive Nuggets, but their half-court game was top-notch Wednesday night to make up for the lack of running.
The Nuggets were dominant around the hoop—too big, strong, and gifted for the Mavs to stop as Denver outscored Dallas 50-36 in the paint.
The series finished off symbolically as well, as the Nuggets had back-to-back nail-in-the-coffin dunks, one by Nene on Dirk, the other an alley-oop finished emphatically by Kenyon Martin.
Denver won the game 124-110, and in the end were way too explosive for Dallas to contain or even slow down.
During the win, the Pepsi Center was raucous, a great sign for the life of basketball in the Rocky Mountain region. Denver can finally get behind the Nuggets again because this team is seriously special.
This win was special itself—the first time in 24 years that the Nuggets have advanced to the Western Conference Finals—and both of the teams they could face should be wary of this stupendous squad.
This was their 16th straight home win, making the Nuggets a Mile High at home when it has really mattered, with their last home loss way back in February. Denver has been extremely focused, and much of the credit must go to veteran Chauncey Billups.
Carmelo Anthony said in a post game interview: "It's special (this team). We overcame adversity but we still have a lot of business to take care of." When asked about Billups, 'Melo said: "He's a leader. He brings that businessman attitude."
Billups followed 'Melo, proclaiming the Nuggets "very dangerous. Our offense is explosive. It's all about being locked in."
Mr. Big Shot knows it's all about focusing on all the little details this time of year, something he's surely preached to teammates all season.
Billups won't let his young and relatively inexperienced teammates become too complacent and wrapped up in the success Denver has found in the playoffs so far. He is hungry for another championship, and looking forward to out-playing, out-witting, and out-strategizing whichever team is in the Nuggets' future.
Memo to the Lakers or Rockets; Carmelo, Chauncey, and the Nuggets have arrived in the finals underrated, angry, and still hungry for more. The question is—can any team stop this magical run Denver is on now?
With the city of Denver once again embracing basketball, let's all hope not.
Rich Kurtzman, B/R Writer and Editing Intern. Questions? Comments? Leave them below. Ideas? Suggestions? Anything else? Email Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org