The Denver Nuggets are on the verge of their longest win streak in franchise history, but coach George Karl hasn't been pleased with his team's recent efforts.
After a pair of close calls, the Nuggets should get Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler back as they try to make history Monday night when they visit the New Orleans Hornets.
Denver (49-22) matched its 1969-70 ABA team's record of 15 straight wins Saturday by holding on for a 101-95 victory over Sacramento. But after leading by 15 late in the second quarter, the Nuggets trailed entering the final period before outscoring the visitors 31-24.
They also needed Corey Brewer's six points in the final 10 seconds to edge Philadelphia 101-100 on Thursday.
"What I've been telling the team, telling them for three days, the next (11) games I don't want to hear about rest. I don't want to hear we're tired. I want our attitude to be the best basketball we've played all year,' Karl said. "And if you don't want to do that, then I'll play somebody else. I don't want to hear about my body hurts, I'm sore.
"Everybody plays the same amount of games, and resting's not going to get us ready for the opportunities."
Danilo Gallinari had nine of his team-best 19 points in the fourth quarter Saturday and led six players in double figures. The Nuggets were playing a second straight game without Lawson (right heel) and Chandler (shoulder).
"The last two or three games we've been up and down," Gallinari said. "We've had some good stretches and bad stretches, probably because we're relaxed after all these wins we've had."
Lawson, who has averaged 21.8 points in his last 18 games, and Chandler are listed as probable for Monday's game. Chandler has scored at least 23 points four times during Denver's winning streak.
Lawson had 21 points and Andre Iguodala scored a team-best 24 in the most recent matchup with New Orleans, a 113-98 home victory Feb. 1. Iguodala and Lawson combined for 40 in a 102-84 home win over the Hornets on Nov. 25.
Denver will also be trying to match its franchise-best seven-game road win streak from Nov. 28-Dec. 15, 1975, its final season in the ABA. Though the Hornets (24-46) are 14th in the Western Conference, they're also riding their first win streak since the All-Star break.
After losing 12 of 15, New Orleans beat two teams in playoff position - Boston and Memphis - for those victories. Robin Lopez had 23 points, including four in the final 1:11, in a 90-83 win over the Grizzlies on Friday.
"When you have a guy like Robin Lopez, the way he played tonight, it's huge. If he does that consistently, I think we can be a different team for sure," guard Greivis Vasquez said of Lopez, who totaled eight points in his previous two games.
The Hornets had lost six of nine at home before those back-to-back home victories, but they prevailed 94-92 in the most recent visit from Denver on April 4 when Eric Gordon hit two free throws in the final seconds.
The Associated Press News Service
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