The new-look Nuggets look to win their fifth straight at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night when they face the Bobcats, whose only victory in Denver came four years ago.
Since trading Anthony and Chauncey Billups(notes) to New York in a blockbuster three-team deal Feb. 22, Denver (35-26) has won three of four to move into a fifth-place tie with New Orleans in the Western Conference.
Despite newcomer Danilo Gallinari(notes) sitting out with a fractured big toe that will likely keep him out at least a week, the Nuggets defeated Atlanta 100-90 on Monday with their fourth different lineup in as many games since the Anthony deal.
J.R. Smith(notes) scored a team-high 19 points off the bench, former Knick Wilson Chandler(notes) added 15 while Raymond Felton(notes) had 16 and seven assists in his best performance in three games since being acquired from New York.
“A lot of lineups can work,” said Felton, who spent his first five seasons with the Bobcats before signing with the Knicks in July. “We’ve got a deep team. It will take (coach George Karl) a while, but I know coach is a great coach. … He’ll figure it out.”
Bobcats coach Paul Silas is trying to do the same with his retooled lineup. With the team acquiring center Joel Przybilla(notes), reserve forward Dante Cunningham(notes) and center Sean Marks(notes) from Portland on Thursday for Wallace, Charlotte (26-33) is looking to move on without its top rebounder and second-leading scorer.
Stephen Jackson(notes) has slid over to the forward spot in the two games since the trade, averaging 32.5 points, while Gerald Henderson(notes) has joined the starting backcourt alongside D.J. Augustin(notes).
After defeating Sacramento 110-98 on Friday in their first game without Wallace, the Bobcats lost 100-86 at Orlando on Sunday to open a four-game trip. They missed a chance to move past Indiana for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Przybilla, Cunningham and D.J. White(notes), acquired Thursday in a deal that sent Nazr Mohammed(notes) to Oklahoma City, made their Bobcats debuts Sunday but combined for just six points off the bench.
“We missed a lot of personnel stuff,” said Jackson, who had 35 points. “On defense (we) made a lot of mistakes. We’ve just got to come in tomorrow and get better. First game, can’t take anything from it.”
Playing in Denver might not be the best place for the Bobcats to get better results. Charlotte has dropped three straight at the Pepsi Center by an average of 12.6 points and five of six all-time, with the only win coming Jan. 29, 2007.
The Nuggets, who play seven of eight on the road following this matchup, last won five in a row at home during a season-best 10-game run from Nov. 5-Dec. 14.
Denver had its season-high seven-game winning streak snapped with a 100-98 loss at Charlotte on Dec. 7 that also temporarily prevented Karl from earning his 1,000th NBA coaching victory.