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Smith's big first half guides Nuggets past Heat

Dec 9, 2006 - 6:40 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- J.R. Smith plans on helping the Denver Nuggets improve their 3-point percentage.

Smith made all seven of his 3-pointers and scored 27 of his career-high 37 points in the first half as the Nuggets coasted to a 123-107 victory over the Miami Heat, who split a four-game road trip.

Carmelo Anthony poured in 32 points and Andre Miller had 20 assists - tying a league season high - for Denver, which won its fifth consecutive home meeting with Miami.

The Nuggets entered the contest last in the NBA in 3-point percentage at .302. Smith boosted that mark as he drilled three consecutive shots from the arc and made all five 3-pointers in the second quarter as Denver built a 74-56 halftime lead.

"J.R. stole the show," Anthony said. "He gets the gameball tonight. He caught fire with those seven threes. Anytime a guy gets it going like that, we're going to ride that train."

"...Melo and J.R., in the first 30 minutes of the game, were pretty incredible basketball players," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

By connecting on seven 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes, Smith tied the team record for 3-pointers in a half previously set by Michael Adams and John Roche and fell one shy of the NBA record. Smith shot 12-of-18 overall.

"Yeah, they told me that at halftime," said Smith about approaching the record. "I guess I have to save that for another day."

After three quarters, Denver's lead was trimmed to 102-91. But the Nuggets scored the first eight points of the final period to put the game out of reach.

Miller's assists matched the output of two-time MVP Steve Nash of Phoenix, who handed out 20 in Tuesday's win over Sacramento.

Nuggets center Marcus Camby was ejected late in the first quarter after knocking some cough drops from the scorer's table.

Dwyane Wade had 21 points and 14 assists, Udonis Haslem scored 21 points and Jason Kapono added a season-best 19 for Miami, which was swept in the season series.

"We didn't have it tonight," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We didn't play well a lot of times. They shot the light of it in the first half. The shots they were making and how many the made consecutively from the outside has a tendency to shock you. It took us out of what we were doing.

"I thought we were playing well at the beginning and we just stopped executing, stopped playing and went from there."

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