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Pacers Vs. Nuggets Preview: Denver Looks To End Homestand On Winning Note

(Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets hope to wrap up a three-game homestand on a positive note when they entertain the Indiana Pacers tonight from the Pepsi Center.

This matchup is the only one on Sunday's NBA docket.

A subject of trade rumors for quite some time now, Anthony, who has already turned down a contract extension with the only team he's ever been on in his young career, scored 23 points in Friday's tough 107-97 loss to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the Rocky Mountains.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant criticized the Denver faithful for booing Anthony, then went out to net 14 of his 18 points in a pivotal third quarter in which Denver was outscored by a 33-20 margin. Arron Afflalo added 22 points for the Nuggets, who have dropped two of three games since a three-game win streak.

"Size versus speed. Size won tonight," said Denver head coach George Karl in reference to a 47-27 difference in rebounding. "Even when we did some good things defensively, we didn't rebound the ball."

Chauncey Billups, also reportedly on the trading block, scored 16 points and Ty Lawson registered 15 in defeat. The Nuggets are still a dominating 19-5 on their home floor and will begin a five-game eastern trek following Sunday's bout with the Pacers.

Denver, which is just 2-11 on the season when posting under 100 points and leads the NBA in scoring (107.3 ppg), will visit the Wizards, Pistons, Cavs, 76ers and Nets on the trek. It is only 5-13 away from Colorado this season.

Meanwhile, the new year hasn't been too kind to Indiana, which has dropped four straight and seven of nine games, including Saturday's 97-92 setback to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden.

Danny Granger had 24 points and both Mike Dunleavy and Darren Collison finished with 14 for the Pacers, who are 0-3 on a four-game western road trip and fell to 6-14 away from Indy this season. The Pacers committed 18 turnovers and blew a 16-point lead.

"We have to learn how to win in these situations and we're just not doing it. We're just not closing games out," Granger told NBA.com. "We're hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel and we stop losing these games."

Roy Hibbert provided a lift to no avail with 11 points and 10 boards. He missed the previous game with an illness.

The Pacers demolished the Nuggets, 144-113, back on Nov. 9 at Conseco Fieldhouse, as Mike Dunleavy scored 24 of Indiana's franchise-record 54 third- quarter points and finished with 31 to lead the way. Anthony and Nene each had 13 points in that one.

Denver has still won 10 of the past 13 matchups between the teams, while Indiana has lost two straight and five of its last six trips to the Rockies.