Portland (16-15) at Denver (16-13)

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO, STATS Writer Tuesday, Dec 28, 2010 Tipoff: 9:00 pm EST Tue Dec 28, 2010

The Denver Nuggets got an idea of what life would be like without Carmelo Anthony(notes).

It wasn’t pleasant.

Anthony will be a game-time decision for the Nuggets, who will try to avoid their longest losing streak in almost four years when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Anthony missed the last three games following the death of his sister last week and wasn’t present for Tuesday’s morning practice. Despite being outscored by an average of only 6.7 points, Denver (16-13)lost all three without the three-time All-Star, marking its longest losing streak of the season.

Anthony, who leads the Nuggets with 24.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, had been averaging 30.3 points and 10.0 boards over his last four games before joining his family.

The Nuggets, who haven’t dropped four in a row since Feb. 14-24, 2007, were outscored 25-7 over the final 8:11 to fall 95-89 to Philadelphia on Sunday.

“We’ve played three really close games, we haven’t won,” coach George Karl said. “There’s not a flow to the rhythm of the players you can play because of Melo not being here.”

Anthony’s return would provide a major boost, especially against Portland (16-15) at the Pepsi Center. Anthony is averaging 28.8 points in 13 career home games - 12 wins - against the Trail Blazers. He scored 18 points with eight rebounds in an 86-83 loss at Portland on Nov. 18.

“He makes a difference in any game,” said Chauncey Billups(notes), who averaged 24.7 points during Anthony’s three-game absence. “First through the fourth quarter, he makes a big difference, but he’s definitely big in those type of situations.”

The Nuggets have won 19 of the last 21 home meetings versus Portland, including four in a row.

Denver will be without Al Harrington(notes), who is expected to miss the next two games with a dislocated right thumb.

Portland had dropped 11 of 13 away from home before beating Utah 96-91 on Monday. The Trail Blazers outplayed the Jazz in the paint, outscoring them 40-32 while holding a 41-31 rebounding advantage.

Another big effort from LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) could help Portland win at Denver for the first time since Dec. 16, 2007.

Aldridge scored 26 points, pulled down seven boards and blocked two shots Monday. He leads the team with 19.2 points per game and his 8.5 rebounds are second to Marcus Camby’s(notes) 10.9.

Camby’s status is unclear for this contest after he left Monday’s victory in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. The center had 12 rebounds with four points and three blocks versus Utah.

He’s totaled 17 points, 22 rebounds and five blocked shots in Portland’s last two meetings with the Nuggets, the team for which he played from 2002-08.

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Tuesday, Dec 28