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This weekend was an important one for the Denver Nuggets, even though they came out on top in only one of two games. They started things off right in Los Angeles Friday night, smacking the Lakers 126-113 and pulling within three games behind L.A. for the top spot in the Western Conference. It was a great game for the Nuggets, with All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups raining three-pointers and other players stepping up big (recap via Denver Stiffs).
Saturday night wasn’t as good, however, as the Nuggets fell 116-106 to the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Denver Post points out that at one point Johan Petro, Malik Allen, J.R. Smith, and Joey Graham—who, besides Smith, are all reserves and generally see little playing time—were on the floor together in the game’s fourth quarter. It proves how good this team could be if all our players were healthy and suiting up every game.
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The Jazz game marked the seventh consecutive contest missed by star forward Carmelo Anthony, who is still hobbled by a sprained left ankle. Coach George Karl says Melo should be back by Tuesday, but his return has been unsuccessfully projected at other points over the last few games. Billups also tweaked his ankle during the Lakers game Friday night, missing the Jazz game. Other players dealing with injuries: Chris “Birdman” Anderson (knee), Aaron Afflalo (ankle), and Nene (left foot).
Let’s hope the Nuggets can get healthy for tomorrow night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, one of the Western Conference’s most potent teams. A peek at the current NBA standings shows that Dallas sits just three games behind the Nuggets and is a likely playoff foe.