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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Sunday, January 27th (All times eastern)

Denver Nuggets (26-16) at Dallas Mavericks (29-13), 6:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets are hopeful that they will have both of their superstars back in the lineup when the current Northwest Division leaders begin a three-game road trip with tonight's showdown against the dangerous Dallas Mavericks.

All-Star Carmelo Anthony has sat out Denver's last two games after spraining his left ankle in Monday's defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets have been able to withstand the loss of the high-scoring forward, however, by winning both contests that Anthony has missed.

Linas Kleiza helped offset Anthony's absence with a 23-point, 11-rebound effort in Friday's 100-85 victory over New Jersey at the Pepsi Center. Denver's other All-Star starter, Allen Iverson, also made a big contribution by pouring in a game-high 30 points.

Kenyon Martin added 20 points and seven rebounds against his former team to help the Nuggets win for the fourth time in five outings. Marcus Camby pulled down 14 boards for Denver, which enters today's play with a 1 1/2-game edge on Portland and Utah in the Northwest standings.

Anthony is expected to be a game-time decision for tonight's tilt, and the Nuggets could use his talents when they face a Dallas squad that is an impressive 19-3 at home this season. Conversely, Denver has posted only a 7-11 away record and has dropped four in a row as the visitor.

However, the Nuggets were responsible for one of the Mavericks' three setbacks at the American Airlines Center this year. On December 6, Denver handed the Mavs a 122-109 defeat on their home court behind a 35-point, 12-assist performance from Iverson. That win halted a five-game road losing streak for the Nuggets in Dallas.

The Mavericks have won six consecutive games as the host, though, following Friday's 112-105 decision over the Los Angeles Lakers. Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard each amassed 26 points and 10 rebounds, with the duo shooting a combined 18-of-21 from the free throw line.

Devin Harris chipped in 18 points to help Dallas to its 10th victory in its last 12 overall games.

The Mavericks played Friday's matchup without veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse, who will miss tonight's game as well due to a strained right hamstring.

Denver has won two straight over Dallas dating back to last season, but the Mavericks have taken eight of the last 11 encounters in this series.

01/27 10:45:58 ET

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