|Even Without "Mello" Bettors Still Taking Nuggets Over Cavs|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Friday, 19 January 2007 13:31|
NBA Basketball: Cleveland Cavaliers at Denver Nuggets - Denver Favored
Blake looks to turn in another strong effort Friday when the Nuggets host the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers.
Blake was acquired by Denver (18-17) on Jan. 11 in a trade that sent Earl Boykins to Milwaukee. He averaged just 3.6 points and 17.6 minutes in 33 games for the Bucks this season.
However, Blake had 13 points in almost 29 minutes in his Nuggets debut last Friday, a 90-86 loss to Houston. He then scored a career-high 25 points in just over 36 minutes in Sunday's 109-93 victory at Portland.
"It's better than good," Blake said of his new home. "It's been a lot of fun. We're playing the style I like to play. Coach (George Karl) is letting me get the ball and push it. And with the players we have on this team, you can't help but be successful."
Blake said that playing with guard Allen Iverson, who was acquired in a December trade with Philadelphia, has helped him improve.
"I'm loving it right now. He's making me a better player," Blake said. "You can't ask for much more than to play with a great player like that."
Iverson had 32 points against the Trail Blazers and is averaging 27.3 in 12 games with the Nuggets. However, Denver is just 4-8 since acquiring him, likely due in part to the absence of Carmelo Anthony, who leads the NBA with 31.6 points per game but is serving a 15-game suspension for his involvement in a brawl with New York on Dec. 16.
Anthony is due to return on Monday against Memphis and scrimmaged with the Nuggets on Wednesday.
"I'm just waiting for this whole process to be over," said Iverson, acquired three days after Anthony was suspended. "I'm excited for him. I'm ready for him to get back and do what he loves to do. I know it's been tough on him sitting out like that. I'm ready for him to get back on the court and, for selfish reasons, ready for him to help. There's 30 points out of the lineup - that's a lot."
Anthony's close friend, LeBron James, will be looking to make up for a lackluster performance when he comes to Denver on Friday. James, who is averaging 26.8 points per game, had 23 and shot just 8-of-21 from the floor in Cleveland's 94-76 loss to Portland on Wednesday.
"My legs weren't under my jump shot," James said. "For some reason, I just couldn't get under it. I started to attack late in the game but it was too late."
The Cavaliers (23-15) own the best record in the East, but have dropped three of four and are 2-3 on their current seven-game road trip. Cleveland shot just 35 percent and had a season-low seven assists against the Trail Blazers.
"We ought to feel embarrassed with our performance," coach Mike Brown said. "There was no effort whatsoever on our part. They kicked our behinds in every single category."
Denver is 4-2 against Cleveland since the 2003 draft, when James was chosen first and Anthony third.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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