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Old 02-07-2007, 07:00 AM   #1
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Default Game Thread: New Orleans Hornets(21-27) @ Denver Nuggets(23-23)

The absence of three top players was too much for Allen Iverson and the Denver Nuggets to overcome in their last meeting with the New Orleans Hornets.

Now Iverson is among the many Nuggets battling injuries, though he could return Wednesday to help the team avoid falling below .500 for the first time in nearly three months as it hosts the Hornets.

Iverson has missed four straight games with a sprained right ankle and Denver (23-23) has lost three of them, part of its 1-6 mark since Jan. 23. The slump has the Nuggets one loss away from having their first sub-.500 record since being 3-4 in mid-November.

"If we weren't struggling, then it wouldn't be so bad," Iverson said of his injury before Monday's 113-108 loss to Phoenix. "That's the most frustrating part. I won't try to rush back. I think it will hurt us more if I try to rush back and then hurt it even worse and have it linger for the rest of the season."

Iverson, though, also said he hoped to be back in the lineup for this game. It's unclear if Marcus Camby will return after sitting out Monday due to a strained groin.

An injured Camby as well as Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, both suspended for their roles in a brawl with the New York Knicks, sat out the team's most recent matchup with New Orleans as the Nuggets lost 99-89 on Dec. 29. Iverson was held to 21 points on 6-of-22 shooting and committed five turnovers.

Anthony aggravated a sprained left wrist against the Suns, but had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double. Postgame X-rays on Anthony's wrist were negative.

"Melo is the type of guy that can get a triple-double every night," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "If he just continues to trust the pass and let the game play and flow and commit to rebounding, he could do that on a weekly basis, I think."

Iverson and Anthony would not be the only Denver players fighting off injuries if they play Wednesday. Forward Reggie Evans played Monday despite a sprained right ankle and Steve Blake played with a bandage covering his upper lip, which required 12 stitches after he caught an inadvertent elbow from Ron Artest 48 hours earlier.

Denver has lost eight of its last 12 home games.

"We've just got to figure out ways to win games down the stretch," Anthony said. "I know we're hurt, I know we're bruised up. But we can't use that as an excuse."

New Orleans, meanwhile, has lost 11 of its last 13 road games.

The Hornets had won five of six overall before falling behind by 16 points in the first quarter Monday night and losing 105-99 at Sacramento.

"Especially on the road, you can't get down ... and expect to win the game," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "We just didn't start the game well and that's the job of the starters. We weren't very focused at the beginning of the game."

Chris Paul had 24 points, six assists and five steals for the Hornets, who could get no closer than three points in the final five minutes.

Paul missed the first matchup with Denver because of a right ankle sprain. He has been held to 13.0 points per game while shooting 30 percent from the field in three contests versus the Nuggets.

This game should be an easy win I think, hopefully Carmelo can put up another great performance.
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Old 02-07-2007, 07:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Game Thread: New Orleans Hornets(21-27) @ Denver Nuggets(23-23)

DENVER -- Allen Iverson can run just fine on his sprained right ankle.

Now if the Denver Nuggets point guard could only cut on it.

Iverson said Wednesday that he would be back in the Nuggets' lineup for the game against the New Orleans Hornets. Iverson, who missed four straight games with the ankle injury he suffered against Charlotte on Jan. 29, did not participate in the team's shootaround Wednesday morning, although he made it through the entire practice Tuesday afternoon on the tender ankle.

"[The ankle] bothered me on a couple cuts and drives to the basket [in practice], but that's to be expected," Iverson said Tuesday.

A limited Iverson is better than no Iverson, at least in Denver coach George Karl's opinion. Iverson is still listed as a game-time decision.

"Allen knows we're in a position where his presence is going to help us, whatever it is, 70 percent, 80 percent," Karl said. "I think his presence on the court will help us. He's a pro. He knows how to figure out what he can do, what he can't do. I think we could use him."

The status of center Marcus Camby may be a different story. He's listed as doubtful for the Hornets game with a strained left groin.

"It feels a little better," said Camby, who suffered the injury against Sacramento last Saturday.

Camby missed four games earlier in the season with a fractured right hand and has been playing for more than a month with it taped up.

"My hand is healing and getting better, but with groins and stuff like that you've got to be careful," said Camby, who's currently leading the league in blocks (3.13) and is second in rebounds (12.2). "You've got to be smart about it."

And while Carmelo Anthony (left wrist sprain) and Steve Blake (stitches in his lip and a hyperextended elbow) both received treatment Tuesday, neither is expected to miss the game against the Hornets. Anthony, who recorded his first career triple-double in a loss to Phoenix on Monday night, reported experiencing some soreness in his left wrist but still practiced Tuesday.

The Nuggets have dropped three of four in Iverson's absence and six of seven overall, falling to .500. What's more, injuries -- not to mention the suspensions to J.R. Smith and Anthony -- are making it difficult for this team to build any sort of chemistry.

"We wanted to see how it would've been with all of us there, but we can't cry over spoiled milk," said Iverson, who's averaging 28.9 points a game. "We've got to move on to the next game."

Iverson, who was recently named to his eighth straight All-Star team, may have to adjust his game while the ankle heals. Either that or he's hoping adrenaline kicks in and he won't notice the pain when he cuts hard toward the basket.

"As far as running straight, I think I can do that all night long," Iverson said. "But just cutting the way I usually do, that's the main part of my game. I'm limited in that."
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Game Thread: New Orleans Hornets(21-27) @ Denver Nuggets(23-23)

Unfortunately Denver lost another game and we are now below .500%, first time since the start of the season, pretty upsetting. But on the bright side, Carmelo had another great performance, 27 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists
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