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 Nuggets overcome Dirk's 44, win on Billups' FTs

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PostSubject: Nuggets overcome Dirk's 44, win on Billups' FTs   Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:16 pm

DENVER(AP) The Denver Nuggets needed two big
nights from role players and one veteran move from Chauncey Billups to
hold off Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.Billups drew a
late foul on Jason Terry and made two free throws with 2.2 seconds
left, and the Nuggets overcame 44 points from Nowitzki to beat the
Mavericks 99-97 on Tuesday night.Billups scored 23 points and Nene had 20 to lead a balanced attack that helped Denver recover after blowing a 17-point lead.The Mavericks were upset a foul was called on Terry, who came over to try and block Billups' jumper."The
guy said I hit him with the body. There was no body at all,'' said
Terry, who had 16 points in the Mavericks' third straight loss. "He
kicked his leg out falling down, so I don't see how I could hit him
with the body. He saw it different and that happens. Human error.''Billups said there was no question it was a foul."When I was up on my shot that's where I felt (the contact),'' he said. "A foul's a foul. What can you do? A foul's a foul.''His teammates agreed."I
thought it was a great call,'' guard Anthony Carter said. "They said he
kicked out his leg, but Dirk does it all the time. Things happen, but
he still got the contact.''Dahntay Jones had 16 points and Chris
Andersen added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Denver. Jones scored seven
points in the third quarter, when the Nuggets were trying to hold off
the Mavericks, and Andersen had 13 points through three quarters,
including a halfcourt buzzer-beater to end the third."Those guys
won the game for us,'' Billups said. "It came down to (my) play, but
without those guys we don't win this ballgame.''They nearly
didn't. Denver led by one when Terry drained a 3-pointer with 2:12 left
to give Dallas a 93-91 lead, its first since early in the game, and
Nowitzki extended it to four with two free throws.Billups hit a
jumper, Nene tied it with 51 seconds left, and Carter's layup with 28
seconds remaining gave Denver a 97-95 lead. Nowitzki dunked to tie it
with 19 seconds to play.After a timeout, Billups drove to the lane and was fouled by Terry, putting the 90-percent foul shooter at the line."I
think Jason was right there trying to contest the shot and he kicked
his leg out,'' Nowitzki said. "The league told us that once you kick
your leg out this season, it's automatically an offensive foul. It was
a tough one to swallow.''The Mavericks trailed by six to start
the fourth, and by as many as nine in the final period, before rallying
to tie it at 86-all on a 17-foot jumper from Terry with 4:52 left.
Billups answered with his second 3-pointer to give Denver the lead
again.The Nuggets took a 64-47 lead in the first minute of the
second half but then went cold. After Billups' 11-foot jumper gave
Denver a 66-55 lead with 8:27 left, the Nuggets went 6:32 without a
field goal."Once they made their run and the momentum switched,
we got to standing around and jump shooting,'' Nuggets coach George
Karl said. "We had 25 layups in the first half and six in the second
half.''The Mavericks tied it at 72 on a free throw by Jose
Barea, but Jones converted a three-point play with 1.1 seconds left and
Andersen stole Dallas' inbounds pass and hit a halfcourt shot to give
Denver a 78-72 lead heading into the fourth."I'm not disappointed in the effort,'' Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm disappointed that we couldn't finish it off.''Nene
led the Nuggets with 16 points in the first half, nine in the first
quarter. Free throws by Billups and Nene and a 3-pointer by Carter
pushed the lead to 60-47 at the break.Billups, who had a
season-high 30 against Detroit on Friday, made an impact early. He had
eight points and three assists in the first quarter as the Nuggets took
a 33-26 lead into the second.Notes: After the game, Karl was
upset that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was interacting with Nuggets
guard J.R. Smith at halftime. "I don't care if Cuban barks, but he
shouldn't be barking at my players,'' Karl said. "I thought it was very
unprofessional and irresponsible. If he sees something that he wants to
deliver to the league, fine, he can do that. But he shouldn't on the
court talking to one of my players.''

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