76ers-Nuggets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 21, 2013
While the reigning NBA champs continue to dominate the headlines, the Denver Nuggets are putting together a remarkable run of their own. The Nuggets go for a 14th consecutive victory and 16th in a row at home Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, losers of 14 straight on the road. One night after escaping with a 119-118 overtime win at Chicago, Denver (47-22) made an even bigger statement with Tuesday's 114-104 victory at Oklahoma City. Ty Lawson led the way with 25 points and Andre Miller added 20, nine assists and seven rebounds off the bench as the Nuggets snapped the Thunder's 20-game home winning streak against Western Conference teams. "It's cool. I'm sure a lot of people didn't think we would get this game, but we talked about having some pride, working hard and practicing," said Miller, who celebrated his 37th birthday Tuesday. "We put in a lot of work to get to this point, so at least we came out and gave a good effort and it paid off." The Nuggets' winning streak is their longest since joining the NBA in 1976-77, and the third-longest by any team this season behind Miami's current 24-game run and the Los Angeles Clippers' 17-game streak. Denver won a franchise-record 15 straight in the ABA in 1969-70. "I don't know where it ranks in NBA history, but it's a good run," said coach George Karl, whose team is in the mix with Memphis and the Clippers for third place in the West. "I don't want to get too happy about it because we have a job to do and we have a challenge. It's to move in to get home court. There's no question that the brand of basketball that we're playing is growing and maturing, and our confidence is growing with it." Tied with Miami for the NBA's best home record at 30-3, Denver has to like its chances of keeping things going against the 76ers (26-41), who have been limited to an average of 87.6 points during their current road skid. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are averaging 110.8 points during their 15-game home win streak. Philadelphia's current road slide is its longest since dropping a franchise-worst 20 straight in 1987-88. It is a league-worst 2-22 on the road since Dec. 1. The 76ers, though, have taken four of five in the series, including a season-opening 84-75 home win. The Sixers, who sent Andre Iguodala to Denver as part of a four-team trade in August, held him to 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting that night. Philadelphia had posted back-to-back wins before getting blown out 101-72 by the Clippers in the opener of a four-game trip Wednesday. The 76ers shot just 36.7 percent and turned the ball over 20 times. "We were hanging around for a while, but turnovers were really the deciding factor,'' 76ers coach Doug Collins said. Averaging a team-best 18.6 points, Jrue Holiday finished with a season-low two on 1-of-8 from the field. He had averaged 25.0 on 50.0 percent shooting over the previous three games. The 76ers will likely need to contain the Nuggets in the lane if they hope to keep up Thursday. Denver is averaging a league-leading 58.0 points in the paint, 19.6 more than Philadelphia's mark. "That's what they do. They get up and down the court," Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant said. "Those guys run off of makes, misses of course and turnovers, but they continually run and pass the ball well and they score a lot in the paint."
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