2003 Draft Matchup

LeBron James might have been drafted ahead of Carmelo Anthony in 2003, but since then, it's been mostly Anthony that has come out on top in the rivalry between the two young stars.

Anthony and James meet for the eighth time since they entered the league when the Denver Nuggets host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Denver -7 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 205.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Denver -7 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Anthony was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 draft, as Cleveland chose to select James at No. 1. James is currently fourth in the league in scoring at 26.6 points per game, one spot ahead of Anthony, who is averaging 26.3. Last year, Anthony finished second in the league in scoring with 28.9 points while James was fourth with 27.3.

Anthony has also helped the Nuggets post a big advantage over the Cavaliers since his arrival in Denver. The Nuggets (4-3) are 6-2 against the Cavaliers (4-3) since the 2003 draft, with three of the wins coming in Denver.

While Anthony's team has had success against the Cavs, it's James who has put up better numbers in the series. James has averaged 22.0 points and 7.4 rebounds in the eight games between the teams while Anthony has averaged 19.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in seven of the meetings, missing the first game last season because he was serving a league suspension for his part in the Nuggets-Knicks brawl earlier in the year.

Cleveland lost both games against Denver last season. James had a triple-double in a 110-99 loss on Jan. 19 in the game Anthony missed while the Nuggets star outscored James 27-18 in a 105-93 victory for Denver on March 25.

James, of course, led the Cavs to the NBA Finals last season while Anthony has yet to lead the Nuggets past the first round of the playoffs in four tries.

Anthony has scored 32 points in each of the Nuggets' last two games, including Saturday's 113-106 comeback win over the Indiana Pacers. He helped lead Denver back from a deficit as big as 25 points, and also got help from Allen Iverson, who had 27 points and 10 assists.

"The one thing as a player you want to find out is the type of character you have on your team," Iverson said. "When you get in situations like that, you can learn a lot about the players on your team."

Denver split its four-game road trip with the win and now begins a four-game homestand. The Nuggets are fifth in the league at 106.1 points per game and have scored above 110 in three of their last four games.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season, getting 22 points from James to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 103-95 on Sunday. Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 25 points and Drew Gooden added 18 and 17 boards for the defending Eastern Conference champions.

James was limited by foul trouble and had only eight points in the second half, but was pleased with Cleveland's season-high 50.6 percent shooting.

"This is the best offensively we've played in three years at this point early in the season," he said. "It's exciting."

Monday is the finale of a season-long six-game road trip for the Cavs, who have won three of the first five.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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