[QODLink]
Sport
Patient Nuggets return to finals
Denver go into their first Conference finals series since 1985 after beating Dallas.
Last Modified: 14 May 2009 08:19 GMT

J.R. Smith, left, denies Jason Kidd [GALLO/GETTY]
Chauncey Billups guided the resurgent Denver Nuggets to a first Western Conference finals since 1985 with a 124-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

The guard recorded 28 points and 12 assists to complement Carmelo Anthony's team-high 30 points as the second-seeded Nuggets sealed the best-of-seven series 4-1 in front of their delighted home fans.

Denver will play the winner of the Los Angeles Lakers-Houston Rockets semi-final for a place in the NBA championships. The Lakers lead that series 3-2.

"We're very dangerous," Billups told reporters.

"Our defence is out there paying attention to the finer things and our offence is explosive. We're moving on to bigger and better things and hopefully we remain successful."

Dirk Nowitzki had 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who were held at arm's length for most of the game but managed to pull within six points in the fourth quarter before their rally fizzled out.

Dallas got 19 points and nine assists from Jason Kidd and made 12 three-pointers but could not slow down the home team.

Billups leads

Anthony drained a pivotal three-pointer with 6:35 remaining to establish a 106-97 lead as the Nuggets shot 58 percent from the field and collected 31 total assists led by on-court leader Billups.

Billups was traded to his hometown Denver in November and ignited a franchise that had suffered five straight first-round playoff exits.

An NBA champion with Detroit in 2003-04, Billups will be involved in a seventh straight conference finals series after leading the Pistons to six consecutive Eastern Conference appearances.

"He's the leader. He came to this team and brought a business-like attitude and a defensive mindset," Anthony said.

"It's special. We stuck through everything and overcame a lot and we still have a lot of business to take care of."

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
Local painters forgo experimentation to cater to growing number of foreign buyers.
Cyprus is a tax haven and has long attracted wealthy Russians, but it could become a European energy hub.
join our mailing list