Nuggets Benefit From Anthony's Morph To Playmaker

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It's a new and improved Carmelo Anthony.

A big reason Anthony finally is a winner in the NBA playoffs is he realizes he doesn't have to carry the Denver Nuggets by himself.

The Nuggets are in the Western Conference semifinals for the first time after five straight first-round exits, and Anthony's unselfish play has sparked the Nuggets to a 2-0 lead over the Mavericks heading into Game 3 Saturday in Dallas.

Anthony says getting his teammates involved early takes pressure off him.

He is averaging 24 points and five assists in the playoffs.

The Nuggets are now two wins shy of their first appearance in a conference championship series in 24 years.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)