Late Nite Hoops: Wade and Heat Take on Carmello and The Nuggets
After yet another home loss to a team with a losing record, the Nuggets look to extend a four-game winning streak against the Heat in Denver as the teams conclude their season series Friday.
Denver (10-6), which lost 98-96 to Atlanta on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center, is 5-4 at home – with all of its losses coming to teams that are below .500.
“We play differently here than we do on the road,” Denver coach George Karl said. “We have less focus, our shoot-arounds are looser, our general preparation habits are like, ‘We’re going to win it.’ And when you get arrogant or too cocky in this league, the league kicks you.”
The Nuggets, though, have won four in a row at home against the Heat (8-10) since a 100-94 overtime loss Jan. 29, 2002. Denver has also won three straight against Miami overall since a 107-100 defeat Dec. 17, 2004, and posted a 112-105 road win Nov. 14.
Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony had 33 points in the most recent game between the teams, and Heat guard Dwyane Wade had 37 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in a matchup of two of the league’s top players from the 2003 draft.
Anthony is averaging 26.5 points in seven lifetime games against the Heat, and Wade has countered with 30.8 points per game while shooting 50.4 percent in six contests against Denver.
Anthony was held under 30 points for the first time in seven games in Wednesday’s loss, finishing with 24 and failing to break the team record he shares with Alex English for consecutive 30-point games. The fourth-year forward, though, is the NBA’s leading scorer with 31.7 points per game.
Nuggets center Marcus Camby had 11 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday and came within two assists of his first triple-double of the season. The 6-11 center has 11 double-doubles this season and is averaging 10.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks.
Miami improved to 2-1 on its four-game road trip with a 93-91 overtime win Thursday at Sacramento. Wade scored seven of his 32 points in overtime and narrowly missed a triple-double with 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Heat recovered to win for the fourth time in their last six games after squandering a 12-point lead in the final 3:57 of regulation.
“He has those type of abilities,” Heat center Alonzo Mourning said of Wade. “We trust him with the ball. We know he will come up big for us.”
Wade has led the team in scoring in 15 straight games, averaging 29.3 points in that span and topping 30 points on nine occasions.
Mourning had 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks as he continues to play well in the place of injured center Shaquille O’Neal. The 36-year-old Mourning is fourth in the league with 2.7 blocks per game despite averaging less than 25 minutes.
The Heat – who are 5-4 on the road and 7-2 when holding opponents to less than 100 points – are 6-8 without O’Neal, who is expected to miss at least two more weeks as he recovers from knee surgery.
By: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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