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Nuggets to test Lakers

Denver believes it can pull off upset

Associated Press / May 19, 2009
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The Los Angeles Lakers will be trying to get back to the NBA Finals for the second straight year while the Denver Nuggets will be trying to get there for the first time when the Western Conference finals begin tonight at Staples Center.

The top-seeded Lakers advanced after an erratic semifinal series against the Houston Rockets, which Los Angeles won, 4-3.

The Nuggets have been chilling since last Wednesday night, when they eliminated the Dallas Mavericks, 4-1, and advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 1985.

"We're very confident," Denver's Carmelo Anthony said. "Not cocky, but confident. In the back of our minds, we know what we did to get to this point."

West reveals illness
For the first time, Jerry West discussed in detail his five-decade battle with atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disturbance, that led him to retire from the Lakers' front office nine years ago.

West, 71, said sheer adrenaline helped him get through his 14-year playing career in the 1960s and '70s, and that doctors originally thought he was perhaps just one of those people who had a benign extra beat in his heart from time to time.

It was when he left the game for the front office that the symptoms - anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, irritability - hit him hard.

West was finally diagnosed at age 42 and said he didn't start getting seriously treated until he was 50.

Grant is ailing
Former NBA forward Brian Grant revealed he has Parkinson's disease and is starting a website devoted to his fight with the neurological disorder. Grant, 37, told ESPN.com that he was diagnosed in January with "young onset Parkinson's" and began having tremors in his left hand last summer . . . World Wrestling Entertainment says it is booked at the Pepsi Center in Denver for Monday, the same night the Nuggets are slated to host the Lakers in Game 4 of the West finals. The Nuggets referred comment to the NBA . . . Lakers guard Derek Fisher has won an extended restraining order against Symone Fisher, a 40-year-old woman he says has stalked and harassed him. She is barred from contact with Fisher or his family until May 2012 . . . Portland assistant general manager Tom Penn pulled his name out of the running for the Minnesota Timberwolves' GM position.

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