Need For a Quick Rebound
A career-high scoring night from J.R. Smith couldn't make up for one of the Denver Nuggets' worst defensive efforts of the season last game.
The Nuggets will try to rebound quickly as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday in another matchup against a struggling Eastern Conference team.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Denver -3 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 212 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Denver -3 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Denver (33-21) lost for the second time in three games Friday, falling 135-121 to the Chicago Bulls. The Nuggets have dropped back-to-back road games after winning the previous four, and they are 11-15 away from home.
Smith, who was averaging just 9.8 points, scored a career-high 43 points on 15-of-25 shooting and helped cut a 23-point deficit to four early in the fourth quarter, but Chicago went on a 14-3 run after that to put away the game.
Smith hit eight 3-pointers and added five rebounds, Allen Iverson scored 29 points and had nine assists, and Carmelo Anthony added 22 points and eight rebounds.
Denver allowed the Bulls to shoot 57.1 percent from the field - the second-highest percentage an opponent has shot against the Nuggets. The 135 points were also the second-most they've allowed, trailing only a 137-115 loss at Phoenix on Jan. 7.
While the Nuggets are one of the league's worst defensive teams - giving up 104.8 points per game - those struggles have been magnified on the road, where they have yielded 109.0 per contest. Denver has held just five teams below 100 in its 26 road games, and allowing teams to shoot 46.7 percent.
Although coach George Karl said Denver did not "respect" the Bulls, who are 10 games below .500, the players insisted that was not the case.
"Respect has nothing to do with this game," Anthony said. "They came out shooting 150 percent from the field tonight."
The Nuggets will try to avoid a similarly poor performance against another struggling team in the Central Division.
The Bucks (20-35) lost for the fifth time in six games Friday, falling 127-100 to the Detroit Pistons. Milwaukee, which had beaten Detroit 103-98 two days earlier, was outscored 32-11 in the second quarter and never recovered in losing by at least 25 points for the seventh time.
"It's embarrassing to lose games by that kind of margin - we know we're better than that," Desmond Mason said.
Charlie Villanueva and Michael Redd each scored 18 for the Bucks. Redd had scored 27 points in Wednesday's victory.
Denver, which has won four straight in Milwaukee, had its best scoring output of the season in a 125-105 rout of the Bucks on Dec. 26. Anthony had 29 points to lead seven players in double figures for the Nuggets, who shot 54.7 percent and are trying to sweep the series for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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