Denver (12-7) at Washington (9-11)

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  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Dec 13, 2006
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The Denver Nuggets hope to follow up a come-from-behind road win with a more complete performance Wednesday when they visit the injury-riddled Washington Wizards.

Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 26 points and Earl Boykins added 19 as the Nuggets overcame an 11-point halftime deficit and defeated the Atlanta Hawks 100-87 on Tuesday.

“The biggest difference in the game was getting defensive stops,” Boykins said. “Once we got the stops, we were able to get the numbers offensively, which led to some easy baskets.”

The 5-5 Boykins, who shot 8-for-11 (72.7 percent) from the field, scored nine of his points in a game-breaking 17-1 run to start the fourth quarter.

“Over the past three or four games, I’ve felt it coming,” said Boykins, who has averaged 12.3 points his last four games on 55.6 percent (20-for-36) shooting.

The Nuggets have split their first two games on the first of two season-high five-game road trips. They visit Boston on Friday before ending the trip at New York the following night. Denver’s other long road trip is from March 20-26.

Anthony is second in the NBA with 30.7 points per game. The small forward has only been held below 20 points twice this season, both in road losses.

The 22-year-old Anthony has averaged 25.7 points in three career games at the Verizon Center and has scored 57 points in his last two games against the Wizards.

The Wizards (9-11) hope to have at least one of their centers back after a 114-109 loss to Houston on Saturday, when Rockets center Yao Ming exploited the absences of Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas by totaling 38 points and 11 rebounds.

“That’s the worst time you want to lose your centers—against him,” Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas added. “It is hard.”

Both Hayward and Thomas were injured in the game, with Haywood exiting in the second quarter with a left thigh bruise and Thomas leaving in the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle. Both are listed as day-to-day.

Without them, Yao dominated backups Calvin Booth and rookie James Lang, halting the Wizards’ modest season-high three-game winning streak with their third home loss in 10 games at the Verizon Center.

Thomas has started a career-high 20 games this season, averaging 7.1 points with 6.6 rebounds, while Haywood has 5.3 points and 5.3 rebounds as a top reserve.

The Wizards could use either big man as they prepare to face Denver’s Marcus Camby, who totaled 47 points, 25 rebounds and 10 blocks in two games against them last season. Camby pulled down a season-high 17 rebounds Tuesday.

Washington’s Gilbert Arenas had 36 points in each of those two meetings, with the road team winning both. The Wizards’ 116-110 win Dec. 21, 2005, at Denver ended a six-game losing streak to the Nuggets.

Arenas scored 41 points Saturday after missing his first 10 shots. It was his fourth 40-point performance of the season and the 23rd of his career.

The 24-year-old point guard is sixth in the league with 27.8 points per game and leads Washington with 6.3 assists.

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Wednesday, Dec 13