Denver (25-18) at Washington (13-30)

By JEFF MEZYDLO, STATS Senior Writer Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011 Tipoff: 7:00 pm EST Tue Jan 25, 2011

A poor road record has prevented Denver from a better standing in the Western Conference. However, a seemingly favorable trip could help the Nuggets improve their position.

The Nuggets open a five-game road trip Tuesday night looking to continue their recent success against the Washington Wizards.

Denver (25-18) improved to 20-5 at home after a 121-107 victory over Indiana on Sunday. The Nuggets are a dismal 5-13 on the road, where they have lost three in a row and 12 of 15. They’ve averaged 110.8 points at home, compared to 102.7 in away games. They’re also allowing 4.4 points per game more away from home.

Those road struggles are a key reason why the Nuggets haven’t been able to climb above seventh in the West.

Denver has reason to believe it can turn things around on a trip that starts in Washington (13-30), then continues with stops at Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New Jersey. All five opponents are below .500, although the Wizards, Pistons and 76ers do have winning home records.

“This is a big road trip for us,” Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony(notes) said. “We need to take the confidence and the momentum that we have here on our home court and really just lock in and focus in on winning basketball games on the road.”

The Nuggets had won five of six in the nation’s capital before dropping their last game there, 107-97 on Feb. 19.

Anthony has averaged 27.4 points in seven career games at Washington. He had 29 with 12 rebounds in Denver’s 97-87 win over the Wizards at home March 16 - the teams’ last meeting.

Denver has averaged 111.4 points and shot 51.5 percent while winning six of seven overall versus Washington.

Anthony finished with 36 points in Sunday’s victory over the Pacers, hitting all of his career-high six 3-pointers in the third quarter.

Anthony seems more comfortable since the potential three-team trade that would have sent him to New Jersey was halted by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov last week. He’s averaged 31.3 points in three games since the deal was called off after totaling 24 in his previous two contests.

“I don’t know if it was the trade rumors slowing down (but) he was making a lot of shots,” Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough(notes) said. “He is Carmelo Anthony and he’s going to make shots.”

The Wizards will try to limit Anthony’s made shots as they seek to bounce back from a 115-106 loss at New York on Monday that dropped them to 0-21 on the road this season.

Washington has allowed an average of 108.7 points on the road, compared to 96.4 at home. The Wizards improved to 13-9 at the Verizon Center with a strong defensive performance Saturday, beating Eastern Conference leader Boston 85-83.

After being held to six points against the Celtics, Nick Young(notes) had a team-high 22 at New York. The fourth-year swingman has averaged 21.3 points over his last six games.

John Wall(notes) had 18 points with nine assists and seven rebounds against the Knicks. The overall No. 1 pick from last June is averaging 11.0 assists in his last three home games.

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Tuesday, Jan 25