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News » Wizards-Nuggets Preview

Wizards-Nuggets Preview

Wizards-Nuggets Preview
With his team's playoff seeding still very much in question, Carmelo Anthony would not let the Denver Nuggets lose to a squad that won't be participating in the postseason.

He'll try to repeat that effort when the Nuggets look for a season high-tying fifth straight win Friday night against the slumping Washington Wizards.

While Denver (44-25) looks for its 18th victory in 22 games at the Pepsi Center, it has not enjoyed this type of success on the road. The Nuggets nearly dropped their seventh straight away from home Wednesday, but rallied from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Memphis 111-109 as Anthony scored Denver's final 10 points.

The Nuggets, who are among seven teams vying for the second seed in the Western Conference, also won five in a row from Dec. 31-Jan. 7.

"It would have been a long plane ride home thinking about this loss," Anthony said after scoring 35 - just the fourth time in 19 games he's scored 30-plus points.

Anthony could have another big scoring night as he's facing a Washington team that's allowing 104.1 points per game during its 3-11 stretch. In the Wizards' last visit to Denver, Anthony hit 19 of 25 shots and scored 49 in a 111-100 victory Feb. 8, 2008.

He had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists in just 26 minutes of a 124-103 win over the Wizards (16-53) on Feb. 6.

"Games like this are dangerous," Chauncey Billups said after that victory. "You come in, and a team that's wounded, that's beat up, that's not been very successful - they're just going to play. They're going to play loose, so I think you've got to impose your will on a team like that."

Billups has been doing that all season. Since being acquired from Detroit in November, the veteran point guard is averaging 18.6 points and 6.3 assists per game.

He recorded his second straight double-double Wednesday with 18 points and 12 assists.

J.R. Smith looks to continue his hot shooting after going 5-of-10 from 3-point range and scoring 21 on Wednesday. He's averaging 17.0 points and shooting 50.0 percent (15-of-30) from long range during the winning streak.

Washington, meanwhile, is looking to improve upon its East-worst 5-29 road record. The Wizards dropped their second straight overall and fell to 0-2 on their four-game western swing with Wednesday's 123-108 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We played a game with eight guys and we played a hard game last night in Utah," Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "You don't like to use that as an excuse, but it's a reality."

Caron Butler, the team's second-leading scorer at 20.1 points per game, missed his third consecutive game with soreness in his left hamstring. The veteran forward could play Friday.

Antawn Jamison will be trying for his third straight double-double. The Wizards' leading scorer and rebounder had 26 and eight, respectively, in last month's loss to the Nuggets.

Denver has won five of six at home against Washington.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 20, 2009


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