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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, March 11th (All times eastern)

Denver Nuggets (29-31) at Sacramento Kings (28-33), 3:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two teams battling to qualify for a berth in the postseason meet this afternoon, as the Sacramento Kings welcome the Denver Nuggets to ARCO Arena.

Denver has lost 20 straight at Sacramento. The last time the Nuggets won in Sacramento was on January 7, 1997.

This is the third of four meetings between the clubs this season. The Kings won the two previous contests.

The Nuggets are scheduled to host Sacramento on April 4th at the Pepsi Center.

Denver is No. 7 in the Western Conference playoff race and holds a slim one- half game lead over the eighth-seeded Clippers, while the Kings are just one game behind the Clippers for the final playoff berth.

Defensive stopper Ron Artest returned to the Kings on Saturday after being suspended following his arrest earlier in the week on suspicion of domestic violence. Artest issued an apology and is expected to play in today's contest.

The team excused Artest on Tuesday. He was arrested and later released on $50,000 bail last Monday by the Placer County Sheriff's Department following a disturbance at his Loomis home. Artest, who is averaging 18.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season, is scheduled to be arraigned March 22nd.

Sacramento tries to get back on the winning track, as it concludes a three- game homestand. Manu Ginobili scored 16 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Kings, 100-93, on Thursday at ARCO Arena.

Kevin Martin tallied 26 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to San Antonio for the Kings. Corliss Williamson scored 21 and Mike Bibby netted 12 for Sacramento, which had its four-game winning streak halted.

The Kings are 18-13 at home this season. After today's game, they will embark on a five-game road trip. Sacramento will visit Cleveland, Charlotte, Miami, Orlando and Atlanta on the upcoming swing.

Denver enters today's game on a two-game losing streak. On Friday, Chris Webber had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead the Detroit Pistons past the Nuggets, 95-82, at the Pepsi Center.

Allen Iverson finished with a team-best 19 points but was just 5-of-13 from the field for Denver, which has dropped three of its last four games overall. Carmelo Anthony, who missed the team's last game after the birth of his son, ended with 17 points and seven rebounds.

The Nuggets are 13-14 on the road this season. They have dropped four of their last five as the visitor. Denver returns home after today's game to host Portland, the Lakers and Phoenix.

Denver is just 5-10 with Anthony and Iverson, who was acquired from Philadelphia in a blockbuster trade on December 19th, in the lineup.

03/11 10:17:57 ET


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