|NBA Odds: Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Spread, Preview & Public Bets|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Monday, 04 February 2008 03:34|
Looking For Three Straight
The Denver Nuggets managed to stay competitive when Carmelo Anthony missed five games with a sprained ankle. In his first game back, Anthony reminded his teammates how much easier life is with him in the lineup.
Denver (28-18) looks to win its third straight and build on its biggest win in more than a month when it visits the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Portland -3 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 203.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 57% of bets for this game have been placed on Denver +3 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
The Nuggets went 3-2 with their All-Star forward on the sidelines, but averaged only 98.2 points during his absence - 8.9 fewer than they had in their first 41 games with Anthony in the lineup.
He returned Saturday, and Denver's offense kicked back into high gear. Anthony scored a team-high 25 points and the Nuggets rallied from 10 down at halftime to defeat Charlotte 117-101, their biggest margin of victory since beating Milwaukee 125-105 on Dec. 26.
"(The ankle) didn't hurt at all,'' said Anthony, who also had 10 rebounds in posting his 12th double-double of the season. "It felt good to be back.''
Allen Iverson averaged 27.4 points and 7.0 assists with Anthony out, but is more than happy to have his fellow All-Star starter on the court again.
"When he is not in the lineup, it makes it tougher for me,'' Iverson said. "He is the main part of our team and he enables us to do so much with the attention that he gets.''
Iverson scored 20 points in the Nuggets' win over Portland on Nov. 14, then averaged 36.0 points in losses to the Blazers on Dec. 16 and Dec. 21.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for Denver has been the production of Linas Kleiza. The third-year forward is averaging 19.9 points over his last nine games after scoring 10.3 per game in his first 35 contests.
The Nuggets are giving up 103.9 points a game - only three teams allow more - but it was their defense that enabled them to come back against the Bobcats. Denver limited Charlotte to 34 second-half points despite the absence of Marcus Camby, the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Camby, who leads the NBA with 3.9 blocks per game and is second with 14.3 rebounds per contest, sat out Saturday with a left knee contusion, an injury that has bothered him periodically throughout the season. He hopes to play against the Blazers.
Denver had lost six straight road games before beating Memphis 106-102 on Wednesday.
Portland (27-19) is one of the league's best home teams, with a 19-5 record that included 12 straight wins from Dec. 6-Jan. 9. The Blazers, though, haven't been as dominant at the Rose Garden lately.
They began a six-game homestand with an 89-79 loss to Houston on Jan. 25, needed a big fourth-quarter run to beat Atlanta 94-93 on Jan. 27 and lost 84-83 to Cleveland on Wednesday.
Woeful New York took Portland to overtime Friday, but thanks to Brandon Roy's first career triple-double - 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists - the Blazers survived 94-88.
"We were dead in the water ... and we were able to mount another unbelievable comeback,'' said Roy, named to the Western Conference All-Star team this week. "It's a special season.''
Roy is averaging 18.0 points and 6.9 assists against Denver in 2007-08.
While Roy has been Portland's best player this season, Travis Outlaw has provided some clutch play off the bench. He hit the game-tying jumper at the end of regulation against the Knicks, and though he hasn't started this season, has scored in double figures in 28 of his last 33 games.
Outlaw is averaging 14.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in that span.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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