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Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Mavs to Melo: So long, have fun out East

By Jeff Caplan


DALLAS -- There was no hiding the Dallas Mavericks' true feelings about Carmelo Anthony's move to the New York Knicks Monday night.

"That’s great; great for the West," Dirk Nowitzki said. "Hopefully Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan go East next. It’s good for the West. Denver is tough to play, especially there."

Anthony and the Denver Nuggetstook the Mavs out of the second round two years ago in five games. This season, the Nuggets are 2-1 against the Mavs, most recently snapping Dallas' 10-game win streak in Denver on a buzzer-beater shot by Arron Afflalo. The Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzliesare the only Western Conference teams with winning record against the Mavs this season.

But, Denver, 2-1 against the Mavs, is the lone team with a winning record with a healthy Nowitzki in the lineup for every meeting. The Spurs are 2-0 against Dallas without Nowitzki, and Memphis is 2-1 against Dallas, but picked up the second in Nowitzki's first game back from a sprained right knee and he was ejected after playing just 15 minutes.

Anthony averaged 29.7 points on 55.7 percent shooting and 9.0 rebounds in three games against the Mavs this season. The other key former Nugget heading to New York, veteran point guard Chauncey Billups, has been pretty good against the Mavs, too. He was on fire from beyond the arc to start the last game to get the Nuggets off to a big lead. He averaged 21.3 points and 50 percent from 3-point range in the three games.

As of today, the second-place Mavs and seventh-place Nuggets are positioned to meet in the first round.

"It’s good for the West and for us, but not so good for the East," Jason Terry said of the trade that. "That’s going to be a tough team to beat."