The last time the Denver Nuggets won a first-round playoff series was 1994. Until last night, that is, when the team trounced New Orleans 107-86, closing out a series in which it averaged 37.5 points more per game than the pesky Hornets (via The Associated Press).

After five straight first-round exits under coach George Karl, whose leadership ability has been questioned (as 5280 reported last month) the team is reborn and will face the Dallas Mavericks starting Sunday.

The Mavs’ histrionic owner, Mark Cuban, publicly sparred with the Nuggets’ enigmatic guard J.R. Smith earlier this season (via The Denver Post). Whichever way the series goes, at least one man will be having fun: Nuggets public-address announcer Kyle Speller, featured in The New York Times yesterday for his enthusiastic style.