The AP reports: Nene scored 18 of his career playoff high 24 points in the first half and the Denver Nuggets raced past the Dallas Mavericks 109-95 Sunday in the first day game in the Pepsi Center’s 10-year history. Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, including a dunk off J.R. Smith’s behind-the-back assist that rocked the arena in the closing minutes. Smith added 15 points, leading a bench that outscored Dallas’ celebrated reserves 38-24 before both teams emptied their benches in the meaningless final minutes. Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 28 points and 10 boards and Josh Howard, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry each scored 15… Howard, who missed two 11-game stretches this season with a bum left ankle and probably needs surgery, turned his right ankle in the second quarter when he got tangled up with Billups. He went to the locker room but returned to action before halftime.

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