Former Hornets Help Nuggets to Rout Lakers, Tie Series at 2

Bhavik DarjiCorrespondent IMay 27, 2009

DENVER - MAY 25:  Chris Andersen #11 and J.R. Smith #1 of the Denver Nuggets react in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 25, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Chris Andersen and J.R. Smith. These two played for the New Orleans Hornets at the same time and have a good relationship which has spanned form New Orleans to Denver.

Andersen came out and made an immediate impact on the game, blocking two shots and grabbing 14 rebounds and scoring six points. His energy plays got the crowd going more and the Nuggets fed off that.

Smith who has been nursing a sore calf strain finally lit up the Lakers going 4-of-9 from behind the arc and 9-17 for the game for 24 points, almost quadrupling his PPG average for the series.

The Nuggets big three of Kenyon Martin, Nene and Andersen had a combined 42 rebounds between them. The whole team has averaged 45 RPG in the post-season, and 41.6 RPG in the regular season.

They had a playoff and game-high 58 rebounds as a team. After dominating the boards in the series, the Lakers were held to 40 rebounds, just four less then their playoff team average.

"They whooped us, period,'' said Kobe Bryant, who scored 34 points in Game four. "They whooped us on the glass. They whooped us to loose balls.''

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The Nuggets out-rebounded the Lakers 58-40, out scored them in the paint by 18, had a 42-24 advantage on bench points and their run-and-gun style of offense led to 10 more fast break points for the Nuggets.

"It just shows we have heart and can play with a man down,'' Smith said. "We did a lot this year and kept it up.''

A man down indeed.

Carmelo Anthony played 34 minutes going 3-for-16 en route to 15 points. Anthony who twisted his ankle and also had the stomach flu vomited before the game and certainly did not seem like himself.

"Even before I twisted my ankle, with my stomach, I didn't have my legs early in the game,'' Anthony said. "I felt like I didn't have any energy. Those IVs were a must. They helped a little bit. I'll be OK for Wednesday.''

"It was important for everyone to step up,'' Anthony said. "We had a bunch of guys step up today. I know the past two, three games our bench hasn't been as productive as they have been in the playoffs, but tonight those guys stepped up. J.R. stepped up big, Linas Kleiza came in and hit some big shots, he was just phenomenal out there.'

The series now shifts to Los Angeles on Wednesday where game five will be held at 9 pm EST.

"What we've done is we've won a road game and brought the home-court advantage back to L.A.,'' Jackson said.

Billups, who scored 24 thinks the Nuggets have a good chance to win Game five on the road.

"I'm sure the world wants to see Cleveland and the Lakers (in the NBA finals)," he said. "You've got the best two players in the world, a chance to see them play in a seven-game series. I don't want to see it...And I'm trying my best not to make that happen.''


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