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NBA roundup: Nuggets exit Dallas with sour aftertaste

Associated Press
DENVER ó The Denver Nuggets returned from Dallas with a bad taste in their mouths, and it had nothing to do with Chris “Birdman” Andersen’s nasty case of food poisoning.
Andersen said Tuesday that he’s recovered from his sour stomach that kept him out of the Nuggets’ 119-117 loss to the Mavericks the previous night. He said he can’t wait for Game 5 tonight at the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets will try to clinch their first trip to the Western Conference Finals in 24 years.
His teammates are equally eager to take out their frustrations on the court.
They’re upset with the way their families and friends were treated Monday night in Dallas, where fans hurled insults at Kenyon Martin’s girlfriend, rap star Trina, and where Carmelo Anthony’s girlfriend, LaLa Vazquez of MTV fame, was removed from her seat by security guards for her safety.
Fans also got into shouting matches with Martin’s mother, who had extra protection around her after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called her son a thug following the frenetic finish in Game 3.
“I think all of us are kind of angry about … the treatment we got in Dallas,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “And we want our home crowd to be with us and … we want to show them that we owe them a game.”
On Tuesday, Cuban apologized for yelling at Martin’s mother, Lydia Moore, and suggested things had gotten out of hand. But his apology was brushed aside by the Nuggets because it contained an offer that they could all sit in his suite with his own family “when the series comes back to Dallas.”
“We don’t plan on going back to Dallas,” retorted Chauncey Billups.
Cuban also offered to take Martin and his mother out for dinner this summer.
CELTICS
WALTHAM, Mass. ó Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis apologized for bumping a 12-year-old boy while celebrating his game-winning shot against the Orlando Magic.
Davis said he got emotional and didn’t see the boy as he turned and ran to the Celtics bench to celebrate his 21-foot jumper.
“If I’ve hurt anybody or if I’ve done any harm to anybody, please forgive me because my intentions were just harmless,” he said.
Video of the play shows the 6-foot-9, 289-pound Davis ducking behind a referee and stepping out of bounds before appearing to place a hand in the small of the boy’s back. The boy took a step back, and his hat fell off. The boy’s father wrote the NBA office demanding an apology.
Ernest Provetti, who identified the boy as his son, Nicholas, said Davis had “no regard for fans’ personal safety.”
MOST IMPROVED
INDIANAPOLIS ó Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger is the NBA’s Most Improved Player after averaging a career-best 25.8 points.
He has improved his scoring average by at least five points in each of the past three seasons.
Granger edged Nets guard Devin Harris 364-339 in voting from a panel of 121 journalists. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant was third.
DALY
DETROIT ó The former Catholic archbishop of Detroit will lead this afternoon’s funeral in Florida for former Pistons coach Chuck Daly.
76ERS
PHILADELPHIA ó Former NBA coach and TNT analyst Doug Collins has talked to the 76ers about their open coaching job.
Collins was among a list of candidates floated to replace Tony DiLeo, who stepped down Monday and returned to the front office.
“They know, I’ve talked to them like two or three times, they know what I’ve said,” Collins said Tuesday from Los Angeles. “Whatever they want to do, they know where I am if they want to call.”
After a 9-14 start under Maurice Cheeks, DiLeo replaced him on an interim basis. Philadelphia went 32-27 under DiLeo and made the playoffs. Collins hasn’t coached since the 2002-03 season with the Wizards.

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