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Suns Host Nuggets

When he's at his best, Allen Iverson is capable of carrying a team. He's carrying the Denver Nuggets right now.

Iverson looks to lead the Nuggets to their fourth straight win on Monday when they face the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Phoenix –7.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 228.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix –7.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Nuggets (21-12) are riding their fourth winning streak of at least three games this season. They held the defending champion San Antonio Spurs to 37 percent shooting in an 80-77 defensive struggle on Wednesday, shot 54.3 percent in outscoring Minnesota 118-107 on Thursday, and beat Philadelphia 109-96 on Sunday night.

Although the wins took different forms, the constant catalyst was Iverson playing at the top of his game. The guard is averaging 36.7 points during the winning streak, culminating with a 39-point effort against the 76ers - his former team - on Sunday.

"We weren't very pretty offensively, and I thought his penetration at any moment broke their defense down quite frequently," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "He got a lot of easy layups because of it.''

The Nuggets' longest winning streak of the season was a six-game run Nov. 9-20.

Denver is the fourth-highest scoring team in the league, averaging 106.5 points. Nearly half of that - 52.2 points - comes from Iverson (26.9 ppg) and Carmelo Anthony (25.3), who combine to give the Nuggets the league's highest-scoring duo. Their averages rank second and fourth, respectively, in the NBA.

Iverson scored 44 points and had 15 assists on March 17 in his first game against Phoenix as a member of the Nuggets - a 131-107 win for Denver at home. He followed up that effort with 26 points at Phoenix on March 30, but the Nuggets lost that game 125-108.

It was the fifth straight road defeat in this series for Denver, which has dropped nine of its last 11 overall meetings with the Suns.

While the Nuggets boast a strong offense, Phoenix (23-10) scores at an even faster rate. The Suns are leading the league in points for the fourth straight season, averaging 109.3.

They surpassed that average Saturday, but saw their four-game winning streak snapped with a 118-113 home defeat to New Orleans. Phoenix lost for the first time in the last 21 games in which it had led entering the fourth quarter.

"We didn't make the big plays,'' Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They made the big plays, big shots and big passes. They came up with big stops and big steals.''

Amare Stoudemire has made big plays all season for Phoenix, averaging 22.1 points and 9.0 rebounds. He's been even better over the Suns' last five games, averaging 28.0 points, 12.2 boards and 3.2 blocked shots.

Point guard Steve Nash, meanwhile, is on pace to lead the NBA in assists for the fourth straight season, as he's averaging a career-best 12.3 per game. Nash has averaged 18.2 points and 10.5 assists in 11 games against Denver since joining the Suns in 2004-05.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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