Without NBA leading scorer Carmelo Anthony(notes), the Denver Nuggets had their worst scoring game of the season. The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile, haven’t let the loss of Tony Parker(notes) hurt their play.
Both players had big games in the last meeting between the Nuggets and Spurs, but their status is uncertain as the clubs continue their season series Sunday.
Anthony scored 22 of his 34 points in the second half of Denver’s 106-99 win over San Antonio on Dec. 5, while Parker had 15 of his 27 points in the fourth.
Parker is now hobbled by a mild left ankle sprain. He sat out against Memphis on Friday night, but the Spurs (27-18) still won 104-97.
Anthony also has a left ankle sprain, which has kept him out the last three games. Denver (31-15) had been able to extend its winning streak to eight before shooting 40.3 percent in a 101-84 loss to Oklahoma City on Friday night.
It was the worst scoring game of the season for the Nuggets, who are third in the NBA in that category at 107.0 points a contest. Anthony, averaging a career-best 29.7 points, is Denver’s only All-Star.
Coach George Karl said Anthony had regressed since Denver’s 97-92 win over Houston on Wednesday. He said it would be a “wait-and-see process” to determine when the forward will play again.
Denver is 5-3 in games Anthony has missed this season.
Chauncey Billups(notes) has been Denver’s top scoring option with Anthony out. The veteran point guard is averaging 24.1 points while shooting 46.9 percent from 3-point range in 11 games since missing his previous five due to a groin injury.
Billups may not have to contend with Parker, who has been bothered by the same foot all season. He’s been limited him to 16.9 points per game, 5.1 fewer than last season.
“Tony’s aggressive, so you have to make up that aggressiveness,” said Hill, averaging 15.5 points over his last six games.
“This team is built for its depth,” Mason said. “For me, running the point definitely helps my game. … You get in a rhythm and you get other guys involved, and then when you get opportunities it’s a little sweeter.”
Michael Finley(notes) may also get some playing time again for San Antonio. He didn’t play against Memphis even though he was listed on the Spurs’ roster for the first time since spraining his ankle in this season’s first matchup with the Nuggets.