NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 23rd (All times eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (20-7) at Denver Nuggets (19-9), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets return to the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center Wednesday when they welcome the streaking Atlanta Hawks to the Rocky Mountains.
Denver is an NBA-best 12-1 at home this season vs. a more pedestrian 7-8 on the road. The Nuggets are coming off a winless two-game road trip after falling in Memphis on Sunday.
Zach Randolph had a huge game with 32 points and a career-best 24 rebounds in that one, as the Grizzlies got by the Nuggets, 102-96.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 41 points for Denver, which has dropped two in a row after a three-game winning streak. Nene finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Kenyon Martin donated 12 points.
"They jumped on us early and it was a wake-up call," said Anthony. "They took advantage of that."
The Nuggets were without All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups on the trip. Billups, who is struggling with a groin strain, is listed as day-to-day.
The Hawks, meanwhile, won for the seventh time in eight games Tuesday by drubbing Minnesota, 112-87, in the Twin Cities. Jamal Crawford had a game- high 26 points in that one.
Joe Johnson added 21 points, while Al Horford had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks, who rebounded from an overtime loss to Chicago on Saturday to improve to 1-1 on a four-game road trip and match the best start in franchise history at 20-7.
Mike Bibby had 18 points and six assists to help Atlanta take its seventh consecutive victory against Minnesota.
"Being unselfish on the floor, we understand that anybody's capable of scoring," the Hawks' Josh Smith said. "Especially our starting five. We've been together for about three or four years now. That just gives us a good feel for what each other likes to do."
The Dominique Wilkins led Atlanta team in 1986-87 also got off to a 20-7 start and eventually lost to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Hawks have won two of their past three games with Denver, including a 125-100 rout in Atlanta early this season.
12/23 13:05:28 ET