Nuggets-HEAT Preview

BY foxsports • November 6, 2009


Carmelo Anthony has cooled off since his red-hot start, but the Denver Nuggets keep winning.

As they continue a season-high six-game road trip, the Nuggets look to match their best start in 24 years by extending their dominance over the Miami Heat on Friday night.

Anthony averaged a league-best 37.7 points on 53.6 percent shooting for Denver (5-0) in its first three wins but shot 34.1 percent over the past two games, scoring a combined 47 points.

Anthony didn't lead the Nuggets in scoring for the first time Wednesday, finishing with a season-low 22 points and shooting 8 of 24 in a 122-94 win over New Jersey.

His teammates carried Denver to the victory instead, as five other Nuggets scored in double figures, led by rookie reserve guard Ty Lawson with 23.

Denver scored 44 points in the third quarter and Anthony shook off a 1-for-11 performance in the first half to score 11 in the period. Chauncey Billups scored all 12 of his points in the third for the Nuggets, who lead the NBA with 115.4 points per game.

"The first half, we couldn't it going at all," Billups said. "There are not many times when 'Melo and I are off at the same time. But the bench came in and did a great job. Sometimes, the shots don't go, but we just had to regroup at halftime and get the job done."

Denver scored at least 110 points in 11 of its last 14 regular-season games.

The Nuggets, who haven't started 6-0 since 1985-86, play a winning team for the first time Friday in the third game of their trip. They also face the league scoring leader from last season, Dwyane Wade.

The Heat (4-1) bounced back from their first loss as Wade had a season-high 40 points in a 93-89 victory at Washington on Wednesday night.

"This was one of those games where you have to will your team to victory as the leader," Wade said. "As the guy they look to, I took it upon myself to get the job done."

Wade averaged a career-best 30.2 points in 2008-09 and is at 29.2 this season. However, he couldn't score enough to snap the Heat's lengthy losing streak to the Nuggets last season despite averaging 32.0 points and shooting 55.6 percent in the two meetings.

Denver has won eight straight against the Heat overall and five in a row at Miami. The Nuggets took 12 of the past 14 meetings after losing 18 of 21, including 13 in a row, to begin the all-time series.

Anthony, who has averaged a team-best 28.4 points during the win streak over the Heat, missed the first matchup last season with a fractured right hand. He was 5 of 15 while scoring 19 points in a 99-82 win at Miami on Feb. 10.

Billups averaged a team-leading 22.0 points on 56.7 percent shooting versus the Heat in 2008-09. The point guard is scoring 21.0 points a game this season.

Anthony and Billups will face a Miami club that is among the league's top defensive teams, allowing 91.2 points per game.

Received 11/06/09 12:26 am ET