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Nuggets look to end 7-game skid on New Year's Day
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 1/1/2014  at  3:15:00 AM
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Tip-off: Wednesday, 9:05 p.m. ET
Line: Denver -9, Total: 212.5

The worst defensive team in the league, the 76ers, travel to the mile-high city on New Year's Day to take on the slumping Nuggets, who are looking to end a long losing skid.

Philadelphia has struggled all season at stopping opposing offenses from scoring points, allowing an NBA-worst 111.5 PPG on 46.8% FG (4th-worst in league). This game will mark the fourth game of a six-game road trip, in which the team is 1-2 (SU and ATS) with a win in their most recent contest against the Lakers on Sunday. They prevailed 111-104 in the game as 7-point underdogs and snapped a 13-game road losing streak. Denver has really struggled in the second half of December and is currently riding a 7-game losing skid (1-6 ATS). They gave up the lead late to the Heat on Monday night at home, eventually losing 97-94. Philadelphia is now 2-13 SU on the road and 6-9 ATS in those games where it allows 112.3 PPG. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are usually one of the best home teams in the league, but have gone only 7-7 SU at home with a 5-9 ATS record. Denver beat the 76ers earlier this month on Dec. 7 by a score of 103-92 and covered the 6.5-point spread as favorites on the road. This matchup has always been quite even, and the teams have split their games (4-4 SU) since the 2009-10 season, with Philly going 5-3 ATS in that timeframe. Even though these clubs usually put up a tremendous amount of points, they have gone Under the total in each of their past three meetings. The Nuggets have also gone Under the total in 10 of their past 11 games. Both teams are healthy for this game with no significant injuries.

Can the Nuggets end their losing skid with a convincing win? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five experts are sizzling on NBA Best Bets in December, going 62% ATS (61-37-1) including 69% ATS (35-16-1) since Dec. 16. During the month, StatFox Zach has a huge 79% ATS mark (15-4-1) and is currently 59% ATS (26-18-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave has an excellent 67% ATS (14-7) Best Bets record in December and is 53% ATS (24-21) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Gary is 63% ATS (12-7) in December Best Bets, while StatFox Scott is 58% ATS (11-8) in December Best Bets. Since Dec. 18, StatFox Brian is 6-3 ATS.

The 76ers have been successful on the offensive side of the ball this year with 102.7 PPG on 44.3% FG, and have scored more than 100 points in each of their past four games. The biggest issue that they have is their defense, as they have allowed 111.5 PPG to their opponents and have done even worse over their past six games by allowing a hefty 120.7 PPG. PG Michael Carter-Williams (17.8 PPG, 7.5 APG, 5.5 RPG) currently leads the league with 3.1 steals per game and really has surprised many with his play. The rookie missed the first matchup between these teams with knee soreness and the 76ers are 1-10 SU when he is out, compared to 8-11 SU when he plays. SF Evan Turner (19.4 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.0 APG) is the teamís leading scorer and is coming off a big game against the Lakers (22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists). He shot only 3-for-12 with six points and five assists against the Nuggets earlier this month and has scored 10.3 PPG (38.9% FG) with 5.5 RPG in six career games against them. PF Thaddeus Young (17.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.5 SPG) has played great over the past four games with 27.5 PPG (55% FG), 8.8 RPG and 2.5 SPG. Young has averaged 15.0 PPG (51.0% FG) and 5.4 RPG over 12 career games (7 starts) against Denver. C Spencer Hawes (15.0 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.5 BPG) is having a career year, and he scored 14 points with eight rebounds and two blocks when facing the Nuggets earlier this season. This wasn't a huge surprise considering the 7-footer averaged a double-double (16.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG) with 4.5 BPG against Denver in two games last season. SG Tony Wroten (13.9 PPG) scored 20 points (10-of-20 FG) against the Nuggets this season while playing in place of the injured Carter-Williams.

Denver has not been quite as explosive on offense this year, averaging only 99.8 PPG on 44.1% FG so far, compared to a league-leading 106.1 PPG on 47.8% FG last season. They have been held under 100 points in each of the games during their current seven-game losing streak, averaging only 92.3 PPG on 41% FG (29% threes) during this slump. PG Ty Lawson (17.8 PPG, 7.9 APG, 1.4 SPG) continues to be the only consistent performer on the team and is coming off a solid performance on Monday night against the Heat with 26 points and seven assists. He did not play against the 76ers this season because of a left hamstring strain, but has averaged 15.0 PPG (45% FG, 43% threes) and 5.3 APG in six career games against them. PF Kenneth Faried (9.5 PPG, 7.7 RPG) has seen his minutes decline recently with only 19.5 MPG in the past 10 games, and played just 14 minutes against Philadelphia this year. In that meeting, he scored only six points with six rebounds, which are very similar numbers to his two prior career meetings in this series (7.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG). SF Wilson Chandler (12.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG) has taken over as the teamís second-best scoring option, scoring 16.6 PPG over his past five contests, but has averaged only 8.8 PPG (39% FG) in 14 career games against Philly. PF J.J. Hickson (11.2 PPG, 8.7 RPG) has two double-doubles in his past three games, and recorded one against the 76ers in the game this season (12 points, 10 rebounds). PG Nate Robinson (10.2 PPG) has provided the team with a spark off the bench, but has failed to score a point in two of his past three games. He has shot poorly in his career versus Philly with 10.7 PPG on 37% FG, but he did drop 20 points on 6-of-14 FG when these teams met on Dec. 7.

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