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Game Preview: Nuggets-Heat

Denver visits South Beach to take on two-time defending champs

Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler leads Denver into Miami on Friday after a 21-point night against the Orlando Magic.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

Bring on the champs.

Fresh off a victory in Orlando, the Denver Nuggets fast a stern test Friday night when they face the two-time defending champion Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“It helps a lot just to see some shots go in and get an actual win,” Denver forward Wilson Chandler said after the team’s 120-112 victory at Orlando on Wednesday. “It is big for confidence, especially going into Miami.”

Beating the Heat will be a tough task as the Nuggets seek their first road victory against a team with a winning record since beating the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Jan. 15.

In addition to the Golden State victory, Denver has posted several quality wins this season, beating playoff teams such as Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers.

“One thing about our team this year, when we have played the top-tier teams, we have been able to get up for the challenge and play well and competitive against them,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

The Nuggets have lost three in a row to the Heat, including a 97-94 defeat at Pepsi Center on Dec. 30. LeBron James had 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to lead Miami.


NUGGETS AT HEAT


WHEN:
5:30 p.m. MT
WHERE: AmericanAirlines Center, Charlotte
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

PROBABLE STARTERS
DENVER (28-36)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C Timofey Mozgov
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson

MIAMI (44-18)
F LeBron James
F Shane Battier
C Chris Bosh
G Dwyane Wade
G Mario Chalmers

INJURY REPORT
DENVER:
Danilo Gallinari (knee), JaVale McGee (stress fracture, left tibia) and Nate Robinson are out.
MIAMI: None to report.

SERIES NOTES
Denver has won 11 of the last 16 overall meetings with Miami, dating to the 2004-05 season, as well as 15 of the last 22 since 2002-03 . . . Nuggets great Alex English scored 51 points at Miami on 3/10/89, which remains tied for the most points scored by an individual Heat opponent in the city of Miami (New Jersey’s Vince Carter also scored 51 at Miami on 12/23/05). English’s 24 field goals also still stand as a Miami record for an individual opponent . . . Only two Miami Heat players have ever scored 40+ points against the Nuggets – Chris Bosh on 11/3/12 in Miami (40) and Sherman Douglas on 12/27/90 in Denver (42).