NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 27th (All times eastern)
Denver Nuggets (30-14) at Houston Rockets (24-20), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony should be ready to play tonight for the Northwest Division-leading Denver Nuggets, who will try to extend their winning streak to eight games in the opener of a three-game road trip against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.
Anthony, who is second in the NBA with 29.7 points per game, missed Monday's 104-93 home triumph versus the Charlotte Bobcats because of a sprained ankle. The Nuggets didn't seem to suffer without him, as Chauncey Billups carried the load with 27 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. Arron Afflalo knocked down six three-pointers to tie a career high with 24 points, while Nene had 17 points, five rebounds, and four steals in Denver's seventh straight win.
"I'm just trying to find a good rhythm shooting, and I got to thank my teammates for that," Afflalo said. "They're doing a lot of creating of the plays, and I'm just standing there trying to make shots."
The Nuggets will also visit Oklahoma City and San Antonio on the road swing and own a 9-11 mark outside of the Pepsi Center this season. While Anthony is listed as questionable tonight, center Chris Andersen is probable against the Rockets due to a sprained ankle.
Denver is four games ahead of both Utah and Portland in the Northwest standings. The Jazz have won three in a row to keep pace.
Meanwhile, Houston has lost the first two tests of a six-game homestand, including Monday's 102-95 loss versus the Atlanta Hawks. Carl Landry scored 16 points and Aaron Brooks netted 15 for the Rockets, who struggled by shooting 39.8 percent from the field.
"It was just that three-minute period that opened the floodgates," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said of the second quarter. "They're a veteran team and have a very good player in Joe Johnson, guys who can make shots and make plays. It's hard to come back against a team like that."
Luis Scola added 12 points and eight boards in the loss, Houston's seventh in its last 11 contests. The Rockets, who are 5 1/2 games behind Dallas in the Southwest, will also host the Blazers, Suns and Warriors on the current homestand and sport a 13-7 ledger in Houston this season.
Denver beat Houston, 111-101, back on December 16 in the Rocky Mountains thanks to Anthony's 38 points and nine rebounds. The Nuggets, though, have lost four straight and 12 of their previous 15 trips to the Toyota Center.
01/27 10:38:11 ET