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NBA Basketball: New Orleans Hornets at Denver Nuggets - Nuggets Favored

Team Page: New Orleans :: Denver

79% of Bets Placed on Denver -5 | Matchup | NBA Picks
The absence of three top players was too much for Allen Iverson and the Denver Nuggets to overcome in their last meeting with the New Orleans Hornets.

Now Iverson is among the many Nuggets battling injuries, though he could return Wednesday to help the team avoid falling below .500 for the first time in nearly three months as it hosts the Hornets.

Oddsmakers have made Denver -5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 202 total

points (View NBA Sports Books).

Iverson has missed four straight games with a sprained right ankle and Denver (23-23) has lost three of them, part of its 1-6 mark since Jan. 23. The slump has the Nuggets one loss away from having their first sub-.500 record since being 3-4 in mid-November.

``If we weren't struggling, then it wouldn't be so bad,'' Iverson said of his injury before Monday's 113-108 loss to Phoenix. ``That's the most frustrating part. I won't try to rush back. I think it will hurt us more if I try to rush back and then hurt it even worse and have it linger for the rest of the season.''

Iverson, though, also said he hoped to be back in the lineup for this game. It's unclear if Marcus Camby will return after sitting out Monday due to a strained groin.

An injured Camby as well as Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, both suspended for their roles in a brawl with the New York Knicks, sat out the team's most recent matchup with New Orleans as the Nuggets lost 99-89 on Dec. 29. Iverson was held to 21 points on 6-of-22 shooting and committed five turnovers.

Anthony aggravated a sprained left wrist against the Suns, but had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double. Postgame X-rays on Anthony's wrist were negative.

``Melo is the type of guy that can get a triple-double every night,'' Nuggets coach George Karl said. ``If he just continues to trust the pass and let the game play and flow and commit to rebounding, he could do that on a weekly basis, I think.''

Iverson and Anthony would not be the only Denver players fighting off injuries if they play Wednesday. Forward Reggie Evans played Monday despite a sprained right ankle and Steve Blake played with a bandage covering his upper lip, which required 12 stitches after he caught an inadvertent elbow from Ron Artest 48 hours earlier.

Denver has lost eight of its last 12 home games.

``We've just got to figure out ways to win games down the stretch,'' Anthony said. ``I know we're hurt, I know we're bruised up. But we can't use that as an excuse.''

New Orleans, meanwhile, has lost 11 of its last 13 road games.

The Hornets had won five of six overall before falling behind by 16 points in the first quarter Monday night and losing 105-99 at Sacramento.

``Especially on the road, you can't get down ... and expect to win the game,'' New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. ``We just didn't start the game well and that's the job of the starters. We weren't very focused at the beginning of the game.''

Chris Paul had 24 points, six assists and five steals for the Hornets, who could get no closer than three points in the final five minutes.

Paul missed the first matchup with Denver because of a right ankle sprain. He has been held to 13.0 points per game while shooting 30 percent from the field in three contests versus the Nuggets.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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