The Dallas Mavericks have the NBA's longest current active win streak. The Denver Nuggets have lost two of their past three. And while the Pepsi Center has been good to the Nuggets this season, the Mavericks are equally as proficient on the road.
In what might be a playoff preview, the Nuggets are 21-7 at home while the Mavericks hold a 17-7 record away from Dallas. On the season, Dallas is 37-15, good for second in the Western Conference, and Denver's 30-23 record places them seventh in conference. So if the season were to end today, these two teams would square off in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Though Dallas has rattled off 11 straight victories, its past two wins have been by a combined five points to the teams with the two worst records in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings. So it's not that Dallas is unbeatable, just apparently lucky.
And luckily for the Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony is one of the hottest players in the game right now. Pushing all trade rumors aside, Melo has averaged 31 points per game over the past five games, including a 50-point outburst in a loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday.
Chauncey Billups is expected to play tonight, which is good news for the Nuggets, who are finally completely healthy for the first time in what seems like ages. With Ty Lawson, Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen and Nene all contributing significant minutes in Wednesday's loss, Billups' return means head coach George Karl will have the full compliment of Nuggets tonight.
The game tips at 8:30 MT and can be seen nationally on TNT.