Just over a week after matching their longest winning streak of the season, the Denver Nuggets are closing in on their longest slide.
With Kenneth Faried possibly out and Danilo Gallinari potentially back, the Nuggets will try to end a four-game skid by continuing their home success of the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
Denver (18-24) has been rather streaky this season, putting together a pair of five-game winning streaks while enduring slides of at least three games on five occasions – including a season-high six-contest losing streak from Nov. 1-12.
The Nuggets are dealing with another rough stretch, dropping four straight immediately following a five-game winning streak. Their current slide includes their most lopsided defeat of the season – 122-79 at Golden State on Monday – followed a day later by a 109-99 loss to San Antonio.
"We tried. We brung it, but the Spurs are a championship team," said Faried, who matched his season high of 26 points while adding 14 rebounds Tuesday after managing seven and nine versus the Warriors.
Faried, though, may be left on the bench Friday due to flu-like symptoms, leaving Denver without its top rebounder at 9.0 per game. He also had 21 points and 13 boards in a 129-98 win over Boston on Jan. 7, 2014, as the Nuggets beat the Celtics for a ninth time in 10 home meetings and fifth in a row.
While Faried’s status is unclear, Gallinari could be back from a torn right meniscus that’s sidelined him since Dec. 20, when he scored a season-high 19 points in a 76-73 win over Indiana.
"I’m good. I’m ready to go so I’ll be ready (Friday)," Gallinari told the team’s official website.
The forward has totaled 46 points over his last two home meetings with the Celtics, but missed the most recent while recovering from a torn ACL that cost him all of last season.
Ty Lawson had 19 points and 13 rebounds in that matchup, and is averaging 23.5 points in the last four overall against Boston (14-26).
The Celtics are trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Dec. 15-19. They haven’t won two consecutive games on the road since Nov. 8-19.
Boston improved to 1-1 on a season-high six-game road trip Thursday, when Evan Turner buried a 3 with 1.9 seconds left in a 90-89 win at Northwest Division-leading Portland. He got the pass from Jared Sullinger, who was on the ground after scrambling for the ball.
”I was able to shoot it high enough so it felt good,” Turner said of the game-winner. ”I kind of prayed to make a big shot and it happened.”
Sullinger is averaging 18.4 points over the past five games, but has totaled 16 points and nine boards in two career games against Denver.
Brandon Bass totaled 29 points and 15 rebounds in last season’s two meetings, and he enters this one averaging 15.3 points on 54.5 percent shooting over the last three games.
Bass made his first start of the season Thursday as coach Brad Stevens said before the game he wanted to see Bass and Sullinger play together.
”We’re not accomplished enough to say we have to have on starting lineup right now,” Stevens said pregame.