Houston (42-32) at Denver (39-37)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 27° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Fri Apr 2, 2004
  • TV: KNWS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Rockets are in a good position to earn their first playoff berth in four seasons. The Denver Nuggets, who have missed the past eight postseasons, would like nothing more than to get there as well.

Both teams will be looking to improve their position when they meet at the Pepsi Center.

The Rockets are currently seventh in the Western Conference—3 1/2 games ahead of the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers.

However, Houston has dropped three of its last four, including a 93-85 loss to the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Cuttino Mobley scored 26 points, and Steve Francis had 17. But center Yao Ming struggled mightily against the Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal, finishing with just six points and eight rebounds. He shot only 3-of-15 from the floor.

The Rockets will play five of their final eight games against teams in playoff contention.

The Nuggets, who have not qualified for the postseason since 1995, are in 10th in the West—a half-game behind Utah and Portland for the final playoff spot.

Rookie forward Carmelo Anthony scored a career-high 41 points Tuesday to help the Nuggets snap a two-game losing streak with a 124-119 win over the Seattle SuperSonics.

Anthony shot 19-of-29 and tied Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James for the most points by a rookie this season.

“I couldn’t let LeBron get 41 without me getting 41,” said Anthony, who also broke his own team record for points by a rookie (39).

Andre Miller added 14 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds for the Nuggets. Nene contributed 19 points, and Jon Barry had 11 points and eight assists.

“We had some great performances from a lot of people,” Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said.

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