Nuggets-Cavaliers Preview

The Denver Nuggets are aiming for an eight-game winning

streak.

The Cleveland Cavaliers would be happy with back-to-back

victories.

The Nuggets look to build on another dazzling performance from

their bench as they try to continue their success against the

Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Denver’s bench is making even more of an impact than usual

during this run. The Nuggets’ reserves are second in the NBA with

an average of 45.2 points, but they scored 72 in a 112-98 victory

over Toronto to open this season-high six-game road trip Sunday and

had 57 to power a 111-87 victory over Brooklyn on Tuesday.

“All we do, we just try to bring energy in the game and play

hard. The harder you play, the more you stay on the court,” said

reserve center Timofey Mozgov, who pulled down a career-high 20

rebounds while adding 17 points against the Nets.

“I want to stay on the court 49 minutes, but I know that’s not

possible. But I want to stay on the court as much as possible, so

I’m going to just push hard. That’s it.”

Mozgov averages 8.6 points and 6.3 rebounds, but he’s scored 33

and grabbed 35 boards over the last two games.

“It’s just a great deal for us and for him. He works extremely

hard and he did a hell of a job going against their bigs,” said

guard Nate Robinson, who is averaging 14.4 points off the bench

over the last seven games.

Mozgov, though, may have his hands full with Andrew Bynum.

Bynum is a big reason Cleveland (5-12) is going for back-to-back

wins for the first time. The 7-foot center had season highs of 20

points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in Saturday’s 97-93 win over

Chicago, helping Cleveland end a five-game slide. It was Bynum’s

best performance since missing all of last season with Philadelphia

while recovering from surgery on both knees.

“It felt good,” Bynum said. “I won’t lie to you.”

The injuries nearly forced Bynum into retirement, but a meeting

with the Nuggets (11-6) could continue his resurgence. He’s

averaging 24.8 points and 11.8 rebounds over his last four

matchups, including a 30-point performance in the most recent April

13, 2012, while with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kyrie Irving surely appreciates Bynum’s presence in the

paint.

“When you have someone you can throw it down to, you know he can

get his shot when he wants,” the point guard said. “He draws so

much attention. It opens up a lot of opportunities for all of

us.”

Irving has averaged 24.0 points and 7.3 assists in three career

meetings with Denver.

Dion Waiters, though, has totaled 21 points while making 7 of 19

shots in two matchups with the Nuggets. However, he enters this one

averaging 21.7 points on 52.4 percent shooting – 7 for 15 from

3-point range – over the last three games.

The Nuggets have won six of the past seven meetings with the

Cavaliers and three straight on the road while averaging 115.3

points. They had eight players score in double digits in a 111-103

victory in the most recent visit to Cleveland on Feb. 9.