Winless Nuggets Head to Philadelphia in Search of First Victory
They’ll try to finally enter the win column when they open a three-game road trip against Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wachovia Center on Friday.
Denver (0-3) has lost its first three games by a total of six points, with their latest defeat being perhaps the most costly.
The Nuggets learned after a 109-107 loss to New York on Wednesday that forward Kenyon Martin will be out indefinitely after an MRI revealed loose cartilage in his left knee.
“I won’t be out the entire season, but I have no idea at this point,” said Martin, who appeared in a career-low 56 games in 2005-06 after microfracture surgery on his left knee.
He also has no idea how or when he got hurt.
“That’s the most frustrating thing,” Martin said. “I have no clue. None whatsoever. How I did it or what day I did it.”
Eduardo Najera replaced Martin in the lineup in Wednesday’s loss and finished with 12 points.
“It’s very difficult to lose him. He’s been a leader and he sets the tone with his aggressive play and personality,” Najera said. “It will take some time for us to adjust.
“I think that Martin is irreplaceable, but combined all our big guys can do a pretty good job.”
The Nuggets are deep at power forward this season with the addition of former No. 1 overall pick Joe Smith on the roster.
The Nuggets blew a 91-79 lead with eight minutes remaining in Wednesday’s loss to continue a disturbing pattern. They also wasted a nine-point lead with five minutes left in a season-opening 96-95 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers last Thursday and a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 112-109 loss to Minnesota in the home opener the next night.
The lone bright spot was Carmelo Anthony’s highest scoring output of the season. Anthony scored 37 points and made 15-of-18 free throws after managing only six trips to the line in the Nuggets’ first two games.
Denver is allowing 105.7 points per game – one of the worst marks in the NBA – and will have to try to find a way to slow down Iverson.
He leads the NBA with 31.4 points per game and had another big game Wednesday in a 106-104 loss at Toronto. Iverson finished with 35 points and 10 assists, but the Sixers lost their second straight.
Philadelphia shot 49 percent and outrebounded Toronto 53-45.
“That is the most frustrating part. We shoot 50 percent and they shoot 40 percent. We outrebound them and still lose by two,” Iverson said. “That’s tough and it’s hard to say anything negative about us, or our performance, but when it is all said and done they got the win.”
Forward Chris Webber is off to a slow start for the Sixers, averaging 10.0 points on 34 percent shooting. Webber averaged 20.2 points last season – the 10th time he’s averaged at least 20 points.
Philadelphia and Denver split their two meetings last season, with the visiting team winning each time. The Sixers have won four of the last six matchups at home.
By: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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