The Denver Nuggets visit the Boston Celtics on Wednesday again looking to earn coach George Karl his 1000th career victory as an NBA head coach. Denver failed in their attempt to notch the milestone win for Karl on Tuesday night, falling to the Charlotte Bobcats 100-98.
Back-to-back games in the NBA are never an easy thing, but when you have to visit the top ranked team in the East, winning is an even tougher task.
For the Nuggets (13-7) to get their coach the landmark win, leading scorer Carmelo Anthony needs to get off the scheide. Since returning to the court after a battle with the flu, Anthony is 22-72 (30.5 percent) while averaging four points less than his season average of 22.8.
While Melo's game has been quieted, several players stepped up leading to a seven-game win streak that was broken against the Bobcats. Since Melo came down with the flu, J.R. Smith is averaging 18 points, Arron Afflalo scored a career high 25 and Nene registered one of his best games as a pro with 27 points and 11 rebounds.
Chauncey Billups has also shone brightly over the past five games, averaging 18.8 ppg while dishing out 6.2 assists per contest during that time span.
The Celtics (16-4) are led by the Big Three: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Add in Shaquille O`Neal and the Celts have four sure-fire hall of famers. Rajon Rondo is also playing his best basketball as a pro, doubling his career average of assists with 14.1 per game and scoring 11.4.
In order for the Nuggets to get Karl his marquee win, Melo needs to start playing like we are accustomed and the role players need to step it up a notch.
If not, Karl will have to wait until the team travels north of the border to face the Toronto Raptors, though the conversion rate for victories in Canada shouldn't be quite 1:1.