Final

Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/27

Game 1: Thursday, November 27th
Hornets105Final
Nuggets101
Game 2: Saturday, January 3rd
Hornets100Final
Nuggets105
Game 3: Wednesday, January 28th
Nuggets81Final
Hornets94
Game 4: Wednesday, March 25th
Nuggets101Final
Hornets88

Nuggets 101

(46-26, 19-18 away)

Hornets 88

(44-26, 26-11 home)

    Coverage: COX

    8:00 PM ET, March 25, 2009

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 28 18 31 24101
    NO 21 24 23 2088

    Top Performers

    Denver: C. Billups 26 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    New Orleans: C. Paul 19 Pts, 6 Reb, 13 Ast, 2 Stl

    Melo nets 29 as Billups helps Nuggets pull away from Hornets

    Associated Press

    NEW ORLEANS -- Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul got tangled up away from the ball and crashed to the floor.

    Paul was whistled for the foul and the crowd booed, while Anthony, lying on his back, shook his head and laughed in disbelief that the call had gone in his favor.

    Fast Facts

    • Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and Chauncey Billups added 26 points to give the Nuggets a road win for just the second time in their last nine tries.

    • Chris Paul had 19 points and 13 assists but also had six turnovers, one shy of his season high. The Hornets had 17 turnovers as a team, two shy of their season high.

    • Denver improved to 27-5 this season when holding opponents under 100 points.

    -- ESPN research

    It was a good omen for Anthony and the Nuggets, who had most things going their way in a game they desperately wanted to win.

    Anthony scored 29 points and Denver beat New Orleans 101-88 on Wednesday night, snapping the Hornets' three-game winning streak while gaining ground in the tight Western Conference playoff race.

    "This might be the biggest win for us of the year," Anthony said.

    Chauncey Billups scored 26 points, hitting four of his five 3-pointers in the second half to help the Nuggets pull away after the game was tied with a little over 7 minutes to go in the third quarter.

    "I had opportunities and if I can get my feet set and squared up I feel like I can make a lot of them," Billups said of his long-range shooting. "Most nights I don't really get those opportunities because teams don't let me get that, but we moved the ball really well. We got guys in the paint, Melo got going, J.R. [Smith] hit some big ones. In the absence of Nene, I thought everyone came out and played good."

    Nene was unable to play after being hit with a two-game suspension by the NBA for head-butting an opponent during the Nuggets' loss in Phoenix on Monday night. Without him, the Nuggets still managed to build a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.

    Nuggets coach George Karl took particular satisfaction in his club performing so well on the road against a fellow playoff contender.

    "What happens at the end of the season is your home games become double the pressure because you can't lose at home," Karl said. "When you steal one against like, New Orleans, it's a double-weighted hammer."

    The score was tied at 55 when Anthony scored six quick points on two free throws and a pair of transition jumpers. The flurry began a 17-6 run that lasted late into the third quarter, putting Denver up 72-61. Billups drained his third 3 of the game during the spurt, while Kenyon Martin dunked and Smith converted a tough driving layup into a crowd.

    Billups added two more 3s and a mid-range jumper early the fourth quarter. Then Smith, a former Hornets first-round draft choice, nailed a 3 to give Denver a 94-73 lead with 7:38 left.

    Fans began heading for the exits, while one yelled, "you never should have let him go," in an apparent reference to Smith, who had 16 points.

    Paul had 19 points and 13 assists, and David West scored 18 points for New Orleans (44-26), which dropped a game behind Denver (46-26) in the Western Conference standings.

    "Everything is so close right now that every game is a big game," Paul said. "We're fine. We would have liked to finish the season 13-0, but it probably wasn't going to happen."

    Hilton Armstrong and Rasual Butler each scored 10 points for New Orleans, which played an unusually sloppy game. Denver wound up converting 19 Hornets turnovers into 18 points. Paul turned the ball over six times.

    "We just wanted to jump him, make it hard for him, not give him no holes, no cracks," Anthony said.

    Anthony started quickly, scoring 13 points in the first quarter alone, with his 3-pointer giving Denver a 24-14 lead.

    "I wanted to come out and be aggressive and let my teammates know tonight is a game I will be trying to go after it," he said. "They fed off of that. We stopped them, we got us some transition points, some easy baskets and our shot was falling."

    Smith's 3-pointer to open the second quarter gave Denver a 31-21 lead. The Hornets clawed back with mostly reserves on the floor and Paul on the bench. Morris Peterson's 3 ignited a 12-2 run, capped by Antonio Daniels' 3-pointer, which tied the game at 33.

    New Orleans briefly took a 44-43 lead on Julian Wright's three-point play, a fast-break underhanded flip off the glass as he was being held by Anthony Carter. Billups responded with his first 3-pointer of the game, and Denver led 46-45 at halftime.

    Game notes


    Hornets C Tyson Chandler (left ankle) missed his fourth straight game, while swingman Peja Stojakovic (back) missed his 11th straight game. ... Denver won for only the second time in its last nine road games, improving to 19-18 away from home. ... New Orleans lost only its third home game in its last 13. ... The Nuggets are 46-26, the best record through 72 games since the Nuggets joined the NBA. ... This was the fourth and final meeting of the regular season between New Orleans and Denver, who finished with a 2-2 split.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DEN
    NO
    Points 101 88
    FGM-FGA 35-81 (.432) 29-68 (.426)
    3PM-3PA 8-22 (.364) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 23-24 (.958) 25-30 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-39 8-37
    Assists 14 19
    Turnovers 12 19
    Steals 9 2
    Blocks 5 6
    Fast Break Points 17 17
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (2/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 21 3

    Top Performers

    Denver
    New Orleans
    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 26
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 19
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 13
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0