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'Melo returns to Denver
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NEW YORK KNICKS (38-23) at DENVER NUGGETS (43-22) Line & Total: Denver -9 & 208
The sizzling-hot Nuggets try to run their win streak to double-digits when the Knicks pay them a visit on Wednesday night.
While New York is trying to shake off Monday's 92-63 blowout loss at Golden State which started its five-game road trip, Denver is trying to extend a nine-game SU win streak (8-1 ATS) where it has scored 104+ points in each victory. The Knicks are coming off a season-low 27.4% FG clip in Oakland, which dropped them to 15-13 SU (13-14-1 ATS) on the road this season. The Nuggets are 28-3 SU (22-9 ATS) at home this season and have shot 51% FG or better in eight of their nine straight wins. Denver is now 19-9 ATS (68%) as a home favorite and 25-12 ATS (68%) with exactly one day of rest. However, New York is 15-7 SU (12-9-1 ATS) after an SU loss this season and 8-5 ATS (62%) as an underdog. And in this series, the Knicks are 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings, including 3-0 ATS in the past three trips to Denver, which the Nuggets won by 7, 3 and 2 points. New York won the lone meeting this season by a 112-106 score on Dec. 9.
New York has an explosive offense that scores 99.4 PPG (10th in NBA), but makes just 44.0% of its shots (23rd in league) because it attempts the most three-point shots in the entire NBA (29.2 per game), making 36.7% from downtown (9th in league). The Knicks also play better defense than most, allowing only 95.8 PPG (7th in NBA). SF Carmelo Anthony (27.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG) has been hampered by a sore knee, which kept him off the court for three games. He returned to action on Monday and tallied a double-double (14 pts, 10 reb), but made just 4-of-15 shots in his 34 minutes. Anthony poured in a game-high 34 points (10-of-24 FG, 11-of-16 FT) in the win over the Nuggets earlier this season, and scored 25 points (10-of-30 FG) with 10 rebounds in his first game against his former team last season. PG Raymond Felton (14.7 PPG, 5.8 APG) has been rolling offensively in his past four contests with 16.8 PPG on 53% FG to help make up for 16 turnovers and just 15 assists during this span. But he connected on just 4-of-15 shots with fellow UNC alum Ty Lawson guarding him on Dec. 9. SG J.R. Smith (16.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG) shot even worse versus Denver that night (5-for-19 FG), but pitched in with nine rebounds and a +12 rating. Smith scored 30.0 PPG during a two-game homestand last week, but started this road trip with a 3-for-11 shooting night in the lopsided loss at Golden State. C Tyson Chandler (10.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG) has been providing very little offense this month (6.4 PPG), but he does have 9.3 RPG in the seven March games, and had 15 points and 12 rebounds (6 offensive) in the December win over Denver. PG Jason Kidd (6.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.5 APG) scored 17 points (3-of-4 threes) with seven assists and four rebounds in that victory over the Nuggets, but has a total of two points on 0-for-10 FG in his past three games combined, spanning 62 minutes.
The Nuggets have been tough to slow down once they get rolling this season, going 26-13 ATS (67%) after an ATS win and 14-6 ATS (70%) following a double-digit victory. Their offense also operates at break-neck speed, as they attempt the second-most shots in the league (85.2 FGA per game) and score the third-most points (105.9 PPG). Denver also ranks among the NBA's top-three teams in both assists (24.6 APG, 2nd) and rebounds (44.9 RPG, 3rd). The offense has been amazing during the nine-game win streak, posting 110.9 PPG on 53% FG and 37% threes. PG Ty Lawson (17.0 PPG, 7.1 APG) has pumped in 21.9 PPG (52% FG) and 6.8 APG during the win surge, and led his team with 23 points at Madison Square Garden in December, while adding six assists and four rebounds. SF Danilo Gallinari (16.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG) is nearly fully recovered from his thigh injury, but shot horribly (1-for-8 FG) in Monday's win at Phoenix. Gallinari pumped in 21 points (7-of-11 FG) and nine rebounds against his former team in the Dec. 9 meetings though. SF Kenneth Faried (11.9 PPG, 9.6 RPG) is averaging a double-double over his past five games with 10.8 PPG and 11.0 RPG, while SG Andre Iguodala (12.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.1 APG) has 12.1 PPG and 7.2 APG during his team's nine-game winning streak. He tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists -- but also five turnovers -- in the loss at New York earlier this season. C Kosta Koufos (8.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG) is coming off a monster effort in Monday's victory where he poured in 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting, while grabbing 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.

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