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News » Bobcats-Nuggets Preview

Bobcats-Nuggets Preview

Bobcats-Nuggets Preview
While the Denver Nuggets welcome back a star player, the Charlotte Bobcats will be looking for ways to cope without one of theirs.

After missing 10 straight games with a broken bone in his right hand, Carmelo Anthony has been cleared to return on Friday night as the Nuggets host a Bobcats team that will be without Gerald Wallace for awhile.

Denver (30-16), which is 6-4 since Anthony injured his hand against Indiana on Jan. 5, returns home following Wednesday's 94-81 loss in New Orleans that snapped its three-game winning streak.

J.R. Smith had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists and Kenyon Martin scored 22, but the Nuggets missed 18 of 22 3-point attempts and committed 19 turnovers.

"Our frustration is that our offense kind of falls apart from the standpoint of shot selection and turnovers," said Denver coach George Karl, whose club averages 15.8 turnovers per game. "One habit that is kind of scaring me is our turnovers. It just seems like we're too risky with the ball."

All-Star guard Chauncey Billups hasn't been immune to the sloppiness, committing three or more turnovers in 10 of his last 12 games.

Billups, who had 16 points, five assists and no turnovers in an 88-80 win at Charlotte on Nov. 11, will be the Nuggets' only representative at the All-Star game in Phoenix on Feb. 15.

"I was definitely excited," Billups said of being named to his fourth All-Star team. "My next question right directly after that was, 'Did Melo make it?' Of course I'm disappointed in that.

"The only reason why is because of the injury. It's just an unfortunate situation."

Anthony, though, is excited about returning after being sidelined the past three-plus weeks. There is still a small fracture in his hand, but doctors said he could play if he tapes two fingers together.

"The doc didn't know how well my hand was going to heal," said Anthony, who had 25 points and six boards against the Bobcats in the Nov. 11 meeting. "Today, he was surprised at how well it healed."

Wallace will need more than tape to return from his ailment. The Bobcats' leading scorer has a fractured rib and a partially collapsed left lung after being elbowed by Andrew Bynum in Charlotte's 117-110 double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. Wallace could be out another 10 days.

With Wallace in a Los Angeles hospital and the Bobcats playing their third game in four nights, Charlotte lost 88-74 in Portland on Wednesday.

"After what we went through last night and the trip here, I was proud we didn't pack it in and we kept competing," said Charlotte coach Larry Brown, whose team fell to 1-2 on its five-game trip.

The Bobcats (19-27) had just 18 first-quarter points against the Trail Blazers en route to their lowest-scoring game this season. Charlotte's 91.8 points per game rank last in the NBA.

Emeka Okafor scored a team-high 18 points in Wednesday's loss. He is averaging 16.4 points and 12.0 boards in seven career games against Denver, which has won six of the last eight matchups in this series.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 30, 2009


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