|NBA: Chicago Bulls at Denver Nuggets Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Tuesday, 20 November 2007 14:00|
Shooting For Six Straight
Carmelo Anthony wasn't shy about predicting success for the Denver Nuggets before the season started. With the Nuggets bouncing back from a humbling losing streak, Anthony's forecast is beginning to seem a lot more likely.
Anthony and the Nuggets go for their sixth straight win on Tuesday when they host the Chicago Bulls in the finale of a four-game homestand.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Denver -8 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 203.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 84% of bets for this game have been placed on Denver –8 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
The Nuggets (7-3) finished last season strong before getting eliminated from the playoffs in the first round for the fourth straight year. Despite the postseason disappointment, spirits were high entering this season - the Nuggets' first full campaign with Anthony and Allen Iverson, whom they acquired from Philadelphia last December.
"A championship, that's our goal," Anthony said during training camp, estimating a franchise-record 60 wins for Denver this season. "We're not far away from the (defending champion) Spurs."
Anthony's prediction was looking a little premature after Denver dropped below .500 on Nov. 7 with a third consecutive loss, 119-93 to Boston. The Nuggets trailed by 39 points at halftime in that game.
"Before that game we were walking around thinking we won something before we won anything," Anthony said Saturday. "It was a blessing. The way they beat us? We learned a lot from that."
Since that defeat, the Nuggets have averaged 115.6 points while allowing only 94.8 per game in five straight wins. They're shooting 50.2 percent as a team, including 41.0 percent from 3-point range, during the run.
"We've taken that loss (in Boston) and turned it into a win," Denver coach George Karl said. "That's a sign of a pretty professional team."
Anthony and Iverson combined for 47 points on 18-for-31 shooting in a 115-83 victory over New York on Saturday. In each game of Denver's win streak, the duo has combined for at least 45 points and the Nuggets have topped 100.
Chicago (2-7), meanwhile, has been forced to deal with the absence of one of its leading scorers.
The Bulls already were struggling when they learned Luol Deng would miss Sunday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers because of lower back pain. Deng averaged 18.8 points and 7.1 rebounds - both career highs - while playing all 82 games last season. His status for Tuesday is uncertain.
Without one of their key players, the Bulls were blown out 61-32 in the second half to lose to the Lakers 106-78. They gave up 18 straight points in a four-minute stretch between the third and fourth quarters.
"It seems like we ran out of gas," said Bulls guard Ben Gordon, who scored 20 points.
The loss dropped Chicago to 1-2 midway through its annual early season road trip which occurs when the circus comes to the United Center. The Bulls are 6-49 on the trip since Michael Jordan left the team in 1998.
"We're just inconsistent, myself included," said Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, who shot 3-of-11 and scored eight points with six turnovers Sunday. "Everybody just needs to do their job, and hopefully we'll find our way out of this thing."
Hinrich averaged 24.5 points and 8.0 assists against Denver in 2006-07 as the Bulls and Nuggets split their two-game season series. Both games were decided by four points or fewer.
Anthony has averaged 31.8 points in his last five games against Chicago.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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