NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, February 1st (All times eastern)
Sacramento Kings (16-30) at Denver Nuggets (32-15), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Playing without your best player is usually a recipe for disaster but the Denver Nuggets have persevered without Carmelo Anthony.
The Nuggets hope to have their All-Star forward back in the lineup Monday night as they kick off a brief two-game homestand against the Sacramento Kings.
Hampered by a sprained left ankle, Anthony played just six games in January but Denver was able to compile a gaudy 12-3 record during the month and a more than respectable 6-3 mark without him.
Most recently the Nuggets bounced back from having their season-high eight- game winning streak snapped with a solid 103-89 win at San Antonio on Sunday. Kenyon Martin led all scorers with 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in that one.
Chauncey Billups finished with 25 points, 11 assists and six boards, while J.R. Smith provided 18 points off the bench for the Nuggets as Anthony sat out his fourth straight game.
Arron Afflalo chipped with 14 points for Denver, which shot 53.6 percent from the floor and made 9-of-12 from three-point range.
"I thought our team did a great job of not losing their confidence," Denver head coach George Karl said. "They played very well tonight, rather than in Oklahoma City. Kenyon was incredible; also I thought Arron Afflalo played special. We were efficient and our bigs in the second half battled Duncan down. Chauncey was a stud today, he knows how to win games."
Karl expects Anthony to give it a go tonight as the Nuggets shoot for their ninth straight home win.
The Kings, meanwhile, continued to struggle in their most recent outing, falling to Charlotte, 103-96, in Sacramento on Saturday. Gerald Wallace poured in a season-high 38 points to go with 11 rebounds in that one.
Kevin Martin finished with 31 points for the Kings, who have lost two in a row and 14 of 16 overall. Omri Casspi donated 14 points off the bench, while Jason Thompson tallied 12 points and 16 rebounds in defeat.
"There was a lot of variation in the quality of our play," Kings head coach Paul Westphal said. "Sometimes we were really good and other times we were off."
The Kings have already beaten Denver twice this season in Sacramento but Westphal's club has dropped nine straight as the visitor and Denver is an impressive 21-3 at the Pepsi Center.
02/01 10:36:20 ET