The Denver Nuggets last swept a road trip of at least four games
five seasons ago.
The Nuggets can accomplish that feat again and extend their win
streak to seven Monday night as they go for their first season
sweep of the Houston Rockets in 32 years.
Denver (45-21) owns the longest current win streak in the
Western Conference and is one-half game ahead of Dallas in the race
for the No. 2 seed. The Nuggets are three games behind the Los
With Adrian Dantley filling in as coach while George Karl
undergoes cancer treatments, Denver has trailed at halftime in
every game of this trip. The Nuggets’ latest rally featured one of
their best fourth quarters of the season.
Denver was down six at the half and tied after three periods
Saturday, but scored 40 points in the fourth and won 125-108 at
Memphis. Reserve J.R. Smith had 16 of his 30 in the final period,
which the Nuggets opened on a 12-0 run.
“It was unbelievable,” Smith said. “It was a great beginning to
the fourth quarter. I think it was the best we’ve had all year by
Four other reserves combined for 27 points, and backup point
guard Anthony Carter added seven assists in less than 17
“It was fun to watch,” point guard Chauncey Billups said.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Anthony Carter. He came off
the bench and was huge. Huge. The way he pushed the ball and found
The Nuggets last swept a four-game trip April 2-8, 2005. Smith
averaged 21.5 points as Denver won the first two matchups of the
season with the Rockets (33-31), whom the Nuggets have not swept
since going 3-0 in 1977-78.
Carmelo Anthony missed Denver’s last two visits to Houston,
where he has had his share of problems. His 19.2 scoring average at
Toyota Center is his worst in any arena and his 38.8 field-goal
percentage is his second worst.
Anthony, averaging 28.5 points, has scored at least 30 in four
games during this win streak and should face a tough defensive
matchup against Trevor Ariza on Monday. Rockets forward Shane
Battier came off the bench for the first time in a 116-108 home win
over New Jersey on Saturday, with Ariza re-joining the lineup.
Ariza will likely defend Anthony to start Monday’s game.
“Shane has told me from forever that he’ll come off the bench,”
coach Rick Adelman said. “I told him I’d try it, but I don’t know
if that’s better for our team. It changes Trevor’s role somewhat
because now he’s got to guard the toughest guy out there at the
start of the game.”
The Rockets have won three of four, getting the best performance
of Luis Scola’s career their last time out. Scola scored 44 points
on 20-of-25 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Nets.
“It was one of those nights where you’re feeling good, but then
everything you try, works,” Scola said. “I’m probably as surprised
as you are.”