NBA Basketball: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets - Nuggets Favored
With Nene around to complement Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets look to win consecutive games when they host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game homestand.
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).
Despite having two of the NBA's top scorers, the Nuggets had struggled recently, losing four straight to drop two games below .500. With Iverson and Anthony together in the lineup, Denver was just 2-7 before beating Memphis 111-107 on Monday night.
Anthony scored 33 points, Iverson had 25 and nine assists and the Nuggets (27-28) got another big boost from Nene, who matched his career-high with 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting.
"We will be going to Nene more," coach George Karl said. "He really delivered a great game."
Since moving into the starting lineup Feb. 2, Nene has averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds, starting all 12 games. The power forward has been hit with a variety of injuries over the past three seasons, but now that he's healthy, is beginning to show the promise that compelled Denver give him a six-year, $60 million contract in July.
"Nene hasn't been healthy for a while, so people don't understand how good he was before he hurt his knee," Grizzlies guard Mike Miller said. "And 'Melo (Anthony) and A.I. (Iverson) are two of the leading scorers in the NBA. They're not easy to defend."
Perhaps with Nene complementing the two big stars, the Nuggets can begin to turn their play around after a recent stretch in which they lost 11 of 15 before Monday's victory.
"We just had to go out and get a win regardless of what team it was," Iverson said. "We needed it for confidence, to make things better around here. It was definitely a step forward, but what stings about it is we did things tonight that we did in the previous four games."
Orlando (28-30) also picked up a confidence-boosting win, snapping a four-game losing streak by beating Chicago 94-87 on Monday night in the opener of a four-game trip. The Magic also ended a six-game road skid.
"Anytime you go on the road, getting the first one is huge," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "Hopefully this will help us get going. Our last two games, we played well at Houston and Detroit. We just couldn't pull out a win. We had our confidence shaken with those losses, but I told the guys we have been playing well."
Dwight Howard had 21 points and 16 rebounds - along with 11 turnovers - while Darko Milicic had 14 points, a career-high 16 boards and five blocks to lead the Magic, who had lost 16 of their previous 21 games.
"From now on, we've got to start playing better," Milicic said. "We're not playing the best we can. We've been losing at home and on the road, so it's good to start this road trip with a win."
Orlando beat Denver 108-99 at home Nov. 15 and has won 20 of the past 24 meetings. All four of Denver's victories in the series have come at home, and the Nuggets have won the last three matchups at the Pepsi Center.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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