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News » Hawks-Nuggets Preview

Hawks-Nuggets Preview

Hawks-Nuggets Preview
The schedule makers didn't do Denver any favors. The Nuggets haven't been helping themselves that much either.

Denver looks to avoid its first four-game slide in two seasons Wednesday when it hosts an Atlanta team trying to end a disappointing stretch of road games with a much-needed win.

Playing at the Pepsi Center for the first time in nearly three weeks Monday, the Nuggets (37-20) suffered their most lopsided home loss in more than 11 years, falling to Boston 114-76. Their worst home defeat prior to Monday was 111-72 to Chicago on Feb. 2, 1998.

"I think it was a championship team (that) wanted to kick somebody's butt," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

The last time Denver dropped four straight was Feb. 14-24, 2007.

Back from an eight-game stretch on the road that ended the previous night with a 120-117 loss to Milwaukee, the Nuggets had their second-worst shooting game of the season at 34.7 percent.

Denver is among the league leaders in scoring at 103.2 points per game but had just 37 in the first half against Boston.

"They come off one hell of a trip. We understand that. That's why we thought the energy would be on our side," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "You play in Milwaukee and have a back-to-back game at home in Denver? I don't know if there's a more difficult schedule than that."

Denver shot 47.7 percent from the field as it won five of the first six on the trip that overlapped the All-Star break. The Nuggets, though, are shooting 43.8 percent during their three-game skid.

"(The Celtics) came in and made shots and played well. We can make a lot of excuses about being fatigued, been on the road a long time, (playing) back to back, just getting home," said Carmelo Anthony, who's averaging 21.8 points but has scored 18 or fewer in two of his last three games.

"There are a lot of things that can play into it. But we lost tonight. We'll take it on our chin and get ready for Wednesday."

Nene, averaging a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game, sat out Monday with a bruised right knee suffered against the Bucks. He is expected to be sidelined for a week.

That's good news for an Atlanta team that's been outrebounded by an average of 11.0 during its last four games. The Hawks (32-24) lost their second in a row Monday, 108-89 to Utah as the Jazz held a 43-31 edge on the boards.

"The results of the game were an embarrassment," said coach Mike Woodson, whose team is 2-3 during this six-game stretch of road games.

Joe Johnson broke out of a minor shooting slump Monday, hitting 7 of 12 shots and scoring 15. He was shooting 34.5 percent in his previous three games.

Atlanta has lost three of its last four in Denver, falling 107-100 in its last visit Jan. 23, 2008. Josh Smith posted his only career triple-double in that defeat, posting 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

The fifth-year forward, though, hasn't been playing at that level lately, averaging 10.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his last six games.

Anthony missed last season's win over visiting Atlanta with a sprained left ankle.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 24, 2009


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