Tuesday NBA: Mavericks (32-19) at Nuggets (34-17)
The slumping Dallas Mavericks got an important win Monday night in Golden State and you know they would like to make it two in a row heading into the All-Star break, but it’s near impossible to win in Denver as it is, much less on the second night of a back-to-back when a tired team has to deal with that thin air.
Denver is a 7-point betting favorite on WagerWeb.com’s NBA odds.
The big question about this game is whether Denver’s Carmelo Anthony (ankle) will play. It was thought the Nuggets would let Anthony sit through the All-Star Game to get that ankle 100 percent. Melo, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, has missed the past eight games but says he wants to play tonight if possible. Anthony also said he would not play in the All Star Game without returning to game action first, and he wants to play in the All-Star Game, which means he either plays tonight or Thursday against the Spurs. Overall this season, Denver is 8-5 without Anthony, who is officially probable tonight.
“Probable is like a 50-50 chance,” the Nuggets’ all-star forward said. “A 50 percent chance that I can be out there or a 50 percent chance that I can take another day off.”
The Nuggets have the third-best home record in the NBA (22-4) but lost last time out at the Pepsi Center to Phoenix. Denver then won impressively at the Lakers on Friday night, only to fall flat the following night in Utah when Chauncey Billups joined Anthony on the sideline with his own ankle injury. Billups is probable to play tonight; Denver is 3-6 without him this year. However, sixth man J.R. Smith, who hurt his shoulder in the win over the Lakers, is listed as a game-time decision.
Dallas’ win in Oakland over the Warriors was just the Mavs’ second win in the past six games – both against Golden State. Jason Terry scored a season-high 36 points and Josh Howard added a season-best 25 points off the bench. The Mavericks started 6-8 forward Eduardo Najera at center against Golden State with Erick Dampier inactive because of his injured left knee.
The Mavericks are one of the few teams to win in Denver this year, pulling out a 104-96 win on Dec. 27. Seven of the eight Mavericks who played scored in double figures. Anthony fouled out with less than three minutes to play in that game and was just 5-of-19 from the field. Billups missed that game with an injury.
The Mavericks are 6-6 in the second game of a back-to-back set. Dallas is 15-15 against teams above .500 , and the Nuggets are 18-8.