Golden State (9-23) at Denver (21-13)

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Temp: 40° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Tue Jan 5, 2010
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Injuries have thrown off the Denver Nuggets’ season, and it remains to be seen how much longer that derailment lasts.

It’s possible Chauncey Billups(notes) and Carmelo Anthony(notes) will return Tuesday night, though both stars could just as easily be out the rest of the week - like Chris Andersen(notes) will be.

That leaves struggling Denver’s rotation up in the air heading into a matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

Billups has sat out seven of eight games with a groin strain and the Nuggets have gone 3-5. They were 19-8 before that injury to their floor leader, who averages 17.1 points and 5.7 assists.

Anthony, the league’s second-leading scorer (30.0 points per game), has missed two straight due to a knee contusion. Denver did fine in the first one without him, winning 105-95 at Utah on Saturday night, but lost 108-105 to Philadelphia the following day.

In that home loss to one of the league’s worst teams, the Nuggets lost Andersen to a sprained ankle in the second quarter.

“You’ve got your leading scorer down, your leader, and now your energy guy,” Denver rookie Ty Lawson(notes) said. “It’s tough.”

Andersen, a reserve averaging 6.2 rebounds and a team-leading 1.8 blocks, left the Pepsi Center in a walking cast.

“He’ll probably be out this week,” coach George Karl said.

So could Anthony, who said after the game his injury is more serious than originally believed, though there’s a chance he plays Tuesday.

“I’m hopeful,” he said. “I think it was worse than a lot of people expected.”

Anthony and Billups are listed as day-to-day.

Lawson has played better lately as Billups’ fill-in, finishing each of the last two games with 23 points and nine assists. He totaled 44 points and 17 assists in the previous four games he started for Billups.

Joey Graham(notes) has not had nearly as much success starting for Anthony, totaling 11 points and seven rebounds with five turnovers in 52 minutes.

Big men Nene and Kenyon Martin(notes) have tried to pick up the slack. Nene is averaging 23.7 points on 66.7 percent shooting in the last three games, and Martin was one rebound shy of his fifth straight double-double Sunday.

They’ll try to help Denver (21-13) avoid losing three consecutive regular-season home games for the first time since 2006-07.

Golden State (9-23) is halfway through a four-game road trip, having blown second-half leads in losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland. Those defeats followed impressive home wins over Phoenix and Boston.

The Warriors have a Western Conference-high 16 road losses, including seven straight, and they’ve lost 11 of 12 in Denver.

Monta Ellis(notes) had at least 30 points for the sixth time in eight games Saturday in a 105-89 loss at Portland, where Golden State was held to 48 points in the final three quarters after scoring 41 in the first.

“I can’t win a game by myself,” Ellis said. “It just wasn’t there tonight. Nobody played up to their ability.”

It was the second-lowest point total of the season for the Warriors, who are 0-12 when scoring less than 103.

“That was one of the worst performances of the season,” coach Don Nelson said.

Another bad one came in Golden State’s lone meeting with Denver. The Warriors lost 135-107 at the Pepsi Center on Dec. 1 as seven Nuggets scored in double figures, led by Anthony’s 25 and Billups’ 22.

Denver has won 13 of 17 in the series and three straight, averaging 129.0 points.

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Tuesday, Jan 5