NBA: Nuggets, Hornets move on after lopsided game
DENVER ó Take it from the man who just won the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award, the Denver Nuggets’ historic dismantling of the New Orleans Hornets left more than just the losers red-faced.
“In a strange sort of way, being up by that much is kind of embarrassing for the team that’s up sometimes,” Billups’ said Tuesday, 12 hours after the Nuggets’ 121-63 shellacking of the Hornets. “Only because, you play the game with integrity and you don’t want to show anybody up. But at the same time you want to play hard and you want to compete.
“It was an embarrassing thing to go through, but I thought the guys were very professional and just kept playing. There wasn’t no (trash) talk or rubbing it in. It was just playing hard.”
Denver’s 58-point win matched the most lopsided victory in NBA playoff history: the Minneapolis Lakers’ 133-75 blowout of the St. Louis Hawks in 1956.
More importantly, it put the Nuggets ahead 3-1 in their best-of-seven series and on the verge of winning a playoff matchup for the first time since 1994. The last time they won a best-of-seven series was 1985.
Billups said the biggest thing the Nuggets have to do in Game 5 tonight in Denver is act like the roles were reversed.
“Even though we’re not facing elimination, we got to kind of act like it,” Billups said.
While the banged-up and browbeaten Hornets scrapped their practice plans Tuesday, the Nuggets had only a short film session, one they thoroughly enjoyed.
They stifled All-Star point guard Chris Paul, whose four points and six assists amounted to one of the worst games of his career, with waves of double teams that induced a half-dozen turnovers.
“We compared it to like a football (strategy),” Denver coach George Karl said. “We want Chris Paul to feel like he’s being blitzed.”
MIAMI ó Dwyane Wade’s back remained sore and stiff Tuesday, yet the Miami star said he will play tonight when the Heat visits the Atlanta Hawks in Game 5 of the teams’ Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
“I’ll be ready,” Wade said.
Heat forward Jamario Moon will miss the remainder of the postseason because of a sports hernia that will require surgery.
TORONTO ó Guard Jose Calderon has had surgery to repair ligament damage in his left ring finger and will need at least six weeks of recovery.
NEW YORK ó The NBA has fined three coaches for publicly criticizing referees during the NBA playoffs. Houston’s Rick Adelman, Portland’s Nate McMillan and Boston’s Doc Rivers all were penalized $25,000.
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Commissioner David Stern says the Orlando Magic will host an All-Star game soon in their new arena, which is expected to open for the 2010-11 season.
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