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News » Nuggets-Wizards Preview 2009-02-07

Nuggets-Wizards Preview 2009-02-07

Nuggets-Wizards Preview 2009-02-07
The Denver Nuggets played their last game without injured starters Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin. A mostly healthy Carmelo Anthony, however, has been enough to carry the team lately.

The Nuggets go for their fourth straight win since Anthony's return from a hand injury when they visit the lowly Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Denver (33-16) went 6-4 from Jan. 7-28 while Anthony was sidelined with a broken bone in his right hand. The sixth-year small forward returned last Friday night and scored 19 points in a 110-99 win over Charlotte.

Anthony admitted the hand was a little tender in that game, but he hasn't looked like he's nursing an injury during his last two outings.

He had 35 points and nine rebounds while going 10-for-17 from the field in a 104-96 win over San Antonio on Tuesday, and scored 32 points with a career-high 11 assists Wednesday night against Oklahoma City. His contested runner in the lane with 5.3 seconds remaining gave the Nuggets a 114-113 victory.

"I got to be honest, I didn't think I would make it," said Anthony, who also made a winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in the Nuggets' first trip to Oklahoma City on Jan. 2. "There was a bunch of people on me, but it went in. I'll take it."

Anthony's performance was enough to make up for the absences of Billups and Martin. Billups sprained his right ankle in Tuesday's game and is day-to-day. Martin has missed consecutive contests with strep throat, and his return is uncertain.

The Nuggets might not need to rush those players back onto the court if Anthony can continue his success against the Wizards (10-39). He's averaging 39.3 points and shooting 64.5 percent (49-for-76) in his last three meetings with Washington.

The Nuggets, winners of four of their last five games in Washington, took both meetings with the Wizards last season by an average of 18.5 points. Anthony had 32 points in a 118-92 road victory Nov. 9 and a career-high 49 in a 111-100 home win Feb. 8.

Another big game from Anthony could be tough to overcome as Washington won't have Caron Butler available for the second straight game. Butler, averaging 20.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and a team-high 4.4 assists, missed a 115-88 loss to New Jersey with the flu Wednesday night.

Without him, Washington shot 42.4 percent from the field and went 3-for-18 from 3-point range.

"We were short some players, including one of our key players, and we knew it was going to be a hard night for us, but we were trying," second-year guard Nick Young told the team's official Web site. "We went out there trying to get a victory, but we just came up short. Shots that normally go in weren't going in for us."

Washington has lost seven of eight and has at least nine fewer wins than every other team in the Eastern Conference. Wizards guard Mike James says the team's not giving up on the season.

"You go into practice, you keep fighting and you get yourself ready," he said. "You have to come out and play well (Friday). We have to give ourselves an opportunity to be successful."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: February 7, 2009


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