Matchup Issues

A matchup with a banged-up team may be just what Denver needs to end its skid. That's exactly the type of contest the Nuggets faced last week against the Clippers, though, and it's what started their tailspin.

The Nuggets look to end their second three-game losing streak of the season Friday night in their rematch with the struggling Clippers.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Denver -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 205.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles +9 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Denver (9-7) had won six straight before a 101-90 loss at Los Angeles (6-7) on Nov. 21. The Nuggets went on to beat Minnesota in their next game, but have lost three straight since.

The Clippers beat the Nuggets despite starting three players who would normally come off the bench. Injuries continue to mount for Los Angeles, which lost point guard Sam Cassell to a strained left calf in the first quarter of an 88-71 loss to Houston on Monday night.

Cassell, who is doubtful for Friday's contest, is one of only five Clippers to play in every game this season along with Chris Kaman, Tim Thomas, Ruben Patterson and Quinton Ross.

"We can't take any more hits because we need everybody on this team," said Corey Maggette, who scored 21 points Monday in his return to the lineup after missing four games with a right hamstring strain. "Just looking at our roster and the personnel we have, if we had everybody playing, this team would definitely be a contender."

Instead, Los Angeles has lost three straight and seven of nine since starting the season 4-0.

In desperate need of a win, Denver will try to take advantage. The Nuggets have been outscored by an average margin of nearly 20 points during their three-game losing streak.

Denver allowed the Los Angeles Lakers to shoot 50.5 percent from the field in a 127-99 loss on Thursday night. The Nuggets failed to reach 100 points for the fourth time in their last five games after averaging 115 during their six-game winning streak.

Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 23 points Thursday, but was ejected with 6:18 remaining after hitting the Lakers' Sasha Vujacic in the throat.

"It wasn't intentionally done," Anthony said. "I hope people don't overreact."

Anthony had 24 points against the Clippers last week. He will likely spend time matching up with Maggette, who has been rushed back from his injury due to the Clippers' injury problems.

Brevin Knight was also pressed into service for Los Angeles Monday, playing 13 scoreless minutes after missing two games with a groin strain. If Cassell can't play, Knight and Dan Dickau will likely split time at point guard.

Cuttino Mobley, who continues to be slowed by a groin injury, had four points off the bench against the Rockets.

All of the injuries are taking their toll on the Clippers' offense, which has been held under 90 points five times in the last nine games.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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