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Preview: Bobcats at Nuggets

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Denver Nuggets have enjoyed a bit of resurgence of late at 8-5 in the new year heading into Wednesday's visit from the Charlotte Bobcats. Denver has showed some resiliency of late, bouncing back from a three-game skid with back-to-back wins over Indiana and Sacramento. Yet the Nuggets remain out of the playoff picture and coach Brian Shaw told the Denver Post, "The downs have been really down (but) I want the roller coaster ride to go up a little more before it starts to descend."

Charlotte seems to be heading in the opposite direction at a season-worst eight games under .500 after only five wins in its last 17 games. After getting torched in New York on Carmelo Anthony's historic 62-point night for the Knicks last Friday, the Bobcats were edged at home by Chicago the following night and now face the perils of a four-game slate of games on the road, where they are just 8-14 this season. Center Al Jefferson has been a bright spot of late, recording at least 20 points and eight rebounds in nine consecutive games.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Charlotte), Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE BOBCATS (19-27): Jefferson's recent spurt has sparked some talk of an All-Star selection for the 10th-year pro and some lofty praise form coach Steve Clifford. "These last eight, nine games, nobody's playing better than Al," he told the Charlotte Observer. Jefferson, whose averages of 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds are both team bests, despite missing nine games with an ankle problem that could mean offseason surgery, seems confident that he can sustain this kind of production. "I know when I'm healthy, I can play at this level," Jefferson said. "I'm feeling really good, so I'm not surprised."

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (22-21): Denver's offense has been prolific since the turn of the calendar, with the Nuggets scoring 100 points or more in all 13 games for an average of nearly 114 per night. Against Sacramento last time out, point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson combined for 39 points and 14 assists and Lawson's average of 17.9 points per game leads the team. Denver has six players averaging double figures in an offense that ranks among the league's top 10.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Nuggets are 12-5 all-time against Charlotte, with four straight wins in the series and five in a row as the home team.

2. Jefferson's run of nine straight games with 20 or more points is the first such streak by a Bobcats player since G Jason Richardson also had a nine-game stretch in 2008.

3. Denver C Timofey Mozgov is enjoying a breakout season, averaging career highs in points (8.9), rebounds (5.8), blocks (1.3) and field goal percentage (56.8).

PREDICTION: Nuggets 101, Bobcats 99

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140129/preview-bobcats-at-nuggets