Dirk Nowitzki showed up and tried not to make this Dallas’ last game of the season. Nowitzki didn’t get much help, especially in the first half and the Denver Nuggets brushed the Dallas Mavericks aside in a 124-110 win, winning the series 4-1 and advancing to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 1985.
The Nuggets started strong, leading by 14 at the half with Carmelo Anthony scoring 21 points. He finished with 30 overall. Dallas were able to narrow it down to six in the fourth quarter after a Nowitzki tre but the Nuggets came back strong and finished the Mavericks for good, as Kenyon Martin dunked the ball hard on a high alley oop as exclamation mark.
For the Nuggets it was business as usual – Carmelo with 30, Chauncey Billups with 28, 7 rebounds and 12 assists, J.R. Smith with 18 off the bench, Nene with 17 and Kenyon Martin with 15. There wasn’t a lot of defense in this game, and both teams shot over 50% from the field, but the Nuggets shot a bit better and defended just a bit better.
Dallas go home feeling disappointed but I though along with others that them being in the Conference Semi Finals is a surprise, more than expected of them at certain points in the season. What comes next for the Mavs? Some changes for sure. It doesn’t seem this group of players can give Mark Cuban the Championship ring he wants. If it’s to rebuild around Nowitzki or try something new altogether we’ll only know in the coming months.
As for the Nuggets, they would probably perfer Houston to beat the Lakers. Right now, looking at the Game 5 beatdown, it doesn’t seem likely.