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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 24th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (32-35) at Denver Nuggets (36-30), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams headed in opposite directions go head-to- head this evening, when the surging Denver Nuggets host the reeling Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center.

Denver has won four straight, 12 of 13 and 13 of its last 15 games to grab the eighth spot in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are 2 1/2 contests ahead of ninth place Minnesota and 4 1/2 games in front of the 10th-place Lakers.

The Nuggets continued their recent success on Tuesday with a 127-98 blowout of the Washington Wizards at the Pepsi Center. DerMarr Johnson scored 20 points and Eduardo Najera added 16 points in the victory for the Nuggets.

Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin added 14 points apiece for the Nuggets, who had six players score in double figures and set a season-high in points scored. Earl Boykins had 11 points and nine assists and Andre Miller had 10 points and seven assists. Miller had five steals and Denver had 15 as a team.

The Nuggets are 19-5 under George Karl and a season-best six games over .500. Karl dressed up in a throwback jersey for the contest.

Denver outscored the Wizards 58-44 in the paint. The Nuggets shot 56 percent from the field, compared to just 40 percent for the Wizards. Denver shot just 19-of-34 from the free throw line.

Center Marcus Camby left the game early due to a right ankle injury. Camby is listed as questionable for this evening's contest.

Denver, which is in the midst of a seven-game homestand, is 23-10 in its friendly confines. The Nuggets have won 12 of 13 and 13 of their last 15 home contests.

Los Angeles is struggling mightily with six consecutive losses, including a 115-107 defeat to the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center on Tuesday evening. The Lakers have lost seven of nine and 11 of their last 15 games overall.

Kobe Bryant finished with 43 points for Los Angeles, but only four came in the fourth quarter in the defeat. Los Angeles, which carried a six- point lead into the final period, received 17 points from both Chucky Atkins and Jumaine Jones in the loss.

Caron Butler rounded out the Lakers' double-digit scorers with 12 points. Los Angeles shot 50 percent from the field, including 13-of-25 (.520) from three- point range. The Lakers drained 18-of-27 (.667) from the charity stripe.

Los Angeles forward Lamar Odom missed his second straight game with a slight tear in his left shoulder. Odom is listed as questionable for this evening's tilt.

The Lakers, who are closing out a two-game road trip tonight, are just 11-22 in foreign buildings this season. Los Angeles has lost eight of 10 and 10 of its last 13 road contests.

Los Angeles has won two of three meetings between these teams this season, with both of its contests coming at home. The Lakers have lost two of their last three at Denver.

03/24 10:06:10 ET


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