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Billups sparkles as Nuggets beat Hornets again; take 2-0 series win

New Orleans Hornets forward Sean Marks (right) tries to block a shot by Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups during Wednesday's playoff game in Denver.

New Orleans Hornets forward Sean Marks (right) tries to block a shot by Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups during Wednesday's playoff game in Denver.

DENVER – Chauncey Billups hasn’t had this much fun on the basketball court in Denver since he was winning two high school state titles back in the mid-1990s.

Billups led the Nuggets to another blowout of the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night, scoring 31 points in Denver’s 108-93 win.

“I do want to kind of apologize. I said he’s a player without skills” after the series opener, Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He’s very skilled. But he plays the game without skills a lot. He plays the game with a brain, and a teamness, a point guard leadership. Then he figures out when to put the skills in the game.

“I’m happy he’s putting a few more skills on the court lately. It’s pretty cool.”

In two games, Billups has scored 67 points, made 12 of 15 three-pointers and sunk all 19 of his free throws while getting a dozen assists and not committing any turnovers.

“I’ve always kind of been a safe player. I don’t take that many chances if I don’t have to,” Billups said. “I try to make the right play. I don’t always make the right play but I try to. I try to think the game out, but I’m in a nice little groove right now and guys have been playing great around me. And it’s just been a lot of fun. Winning is fun, man.”

The best-of-seven series moves to New Orleans for Game 3 on Saturday night with the Nuggets holding just the third 2-0 edge in their 33-year NBA history. Karl said the pair of blowouts mean nothing when the series shifts to the Hornets’ home court.

“They’re going to be very angry and very physical,” Karl said. “The game got a little more chippy tonight. It seemed like they were trying to tease us into mistakes and I’m sure it’s going to continue on the road.”

Hornets coach Byron Scott said it wasn’t the rough play that bothered him as much as his team’s 17 turnovers, which led to 23 points, compared to Denver’s six turnovers.

This is the first time the Nuggets have won the first two games of a playoff series since 1985, when they took care of Utah in five games in the Western Conference semifinals.



• Boston at Chicago, 5 p.m., TNT

• Lakers at Utah, 7:30 p.m., TNT

> Orlando beats 76ers; Miami downs Atlanta, Page 2C

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