Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Saturday, December 4th
Heat95Final
Nuggets104
Game 2: Friday, December 17th
Nuggets100Final
Heat107

Heat 95

(11-7, 5-4 away)

Nuggets 104

(9-7, 8-4 home)

    Coverage: ALT

    7:00 PM ET, December 4, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 22 26 19 2895
    DEN 35 21 23 25104

    Top Performers

    Mia: D. Wade 26 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    Den: C. Anthony 28 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl

    Anthony scores 28 on 12-of-19 shooting

    DENVER (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony was back to normal, and the Miami Heat paid for it.

    "I had some energy and it showed tonight," said Anthony, who two days earlier had been badly outplayed by LeBron James. "The loss to Cleveland gave us energy and we showed this wasn't the same team that lost."

    Anthony scored 28 points to surpass 2,000 for his career, and the Denver Nuggets controlled Shaquille O'Neal with constant double-teams to win 104-95 Saturday night.

    "We were dogging against them, two steps back, two steps slower than Cleveland," Anthony said. "This time we were on fire from the beginning and we came out focused from the beginning to the end."

    Anthony shot 12-for-19 with five assists and four steals, Earl Boykins added 16 points, six assists and five steals, and Kenyon Martin had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The Nuggets used an uptempo attack that scored 28 points off 26 Miami turnovers.

    "Our team came out and pushed the ball and consistently ran the ball," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Our double-teams were also very effective against Shaq."

    O'Neal, defended by Marcus Camby and Martin, was 5-for-10 from the field and 2-for-8 from the free throw line for 12 points. Dwyane Wade led Miami with 26 points.

    "We didn't come out and have a lot of energy and match the other team's energy," O'Neal said. "We didn't have any in the first half. We had way too many turnovers and they had a lot of fast breaks and a lot of dunks."

    Denver took a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter but had it cut to 83-78 after Eddie Jones' 3-pointer and a dunk by O'Neal. Anthony blocked Jones' layup and followed with a jumper to start a 9-0 run for a 92-78 lead with 4:13 remaining.

    O'Neal scored seven points early in the third quarter, converting a three-point play to get Miami within 66-61, but Nene had a three-point play of his own. A 3-pointer by Greg Buckner and a three-point play by Francisco Elson in the last three minutes made it 79-67 at the end of the third quarter.

    Using pressure defense to turn four turnovers into layups, Denver led 50-34 on Earl Boykins' layup six minutes into the second quarter. After O'Neal left with his third foul early in the period, Michael Doleac scored eight points and Christian Laettner four to pull the Heat to 56-48 at the break.

    "Their layups in the first half are inexcusable." Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We came out in cruise control mode, not understanding that a team that got killed the other night would want to come out and play."

    The Nuggets shot 75 percent and shot 9-of-13 on free throws in the first quarter. Anthony hit his first four shots as Denver led 35-22.

    "I don't know why we play so badly one night and so well the next," Boykins said. "I don't know."

    Game notes


    Stan Van Gundy coached his 100th game. ... The Heat are 3-1 on the second night of back-to-back games. ... Jones limped into the lockerroom in the last minute of the first half, but returned in the second half. ... The Nuggets had scored less than 90 points in four previous games. ... Martin missed the morning shootaround with sore back, but played. Martin pounded his chest after a dunk over O'Neal.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    MIA
    DEN
    Points 95 104
    FGM-FGA 37-72 (.514) 39-77 (.506)
    3PM-3PA 6-15 (.400) 4-14 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 15-25 (.600) 22-32 (.688)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-37 10-42
    Assists 29 29
    Turnovers 26 20
    Steals 9 17
    Blocks 9 4
    Fast Break Points 6 28
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 31 (2/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 1 20

    Top Performers

    Miami
    Denver
    Dwyane Wade Wade
    Points: 26
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Carmelo Anthony Anthony
    Points: 28
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0