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Kings Vs. Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony Returns As Denver Hosts Sacramento

Carmelo Anthony practiced Friday with the Denver Nuggets for the first time since the passing of his sister Michelle, and is expected to be in the lineup tonight when the Nuggets host the Sacramento Kings.

Melo, who missed five games while spending time with family back East, leads the Nuggets (18-13) in scoring and rebounding, but had to watch the Nuggets go 2-3 in his absence. Though they struggled at times without Melo, the Nuggets clicked as a team over their past two games, winning against the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

In the most recent game, Melo wasn't the only star out for the Nuggets. Kenyon Martin, Nene and Al Harrington each missed the last game of 2010 nursing a variety of ailments. Harrington has all but ruled himself out for tonight's game, while Denver expects Nene to see action. At the time of this publication, K-Mart's status is up in the air.

With Melo out Chauncey Billups took over as the team leader in points per game, averaging 25.6 over his past five games.

The young Kings are led in scoring, assists and steals by second-year pro Tyreke Evans. Rookie DeMarcus Cousins leads the team in rebounding.

The game tips tonight at the Pepsi Center at 7:00 p.m. MT and can be seen on Altitude.