The Nuggets' brutalization of the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night make it abundantly clear that the team will finish off Chris Paul and company tonight; thanks to a drive and focus we haven't seen around here for ages, a let-down seems about as likely as cable-news coverage of the swine-flu story that stops short of hysteria. And if the Nuggets do indeed qualify for a second-round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, who polished off the San Antonio Spurs last night, a big reason will be the play of unlikely hero Chris Andersen. The Birdman was more of a novelty than a standout during his first stint with Denver, and his most memorable moments with the Hornets, his next team, came thanks to a horrific/comic performance at the 2005 NBA All-Star slam-dunk competition. But this season, Big Bird has provided great energy off the bench and played the sort of not-in-my-house defense that gives the Nugs a good shot at winning the next series, too.
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If that's the case, Andersen may earn as much ink as he's got on his body -- and he'll deserve it.