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Knicks-Nuggets Preview

AP - Sports

As awful as things have been going for Carmelo Anthony, he might feel even worse returning to the city he wanted to leave so he could join the New York Knicks.

Anthony is trying to avoid the longest losing streak of his career and his former team is among the hottest in the league going into Friday night's matchup with the Denver Nuggets.

It seems unlikely he'll get a warm reception from the crowd in Denver after his initial return there earlier this year included many fans jeering him throughout the game. Anthony tried to play through a knee injury but was held to nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in the 117-94 loss March 13.

He left early in the third quarter, and fans would later derisively chant "Who needs Melo?" in front of a national television audience.

Although more than eight months have passed since that meeting, Denver fans likely haven't forgotten Anthony's trade demand that resulted in him being shipped to the Knicks during the 2010-11 season.

Now the six-time All-Star will try to put an end to his current misery, with New York (3-11) having dropped seven in a row for the first time since an eight-game losing streak Feb. 5-23, 2010.

"We are in a dark place, and we've got to get out of it," said Anthony, who has never been part of an eight-game skid in his 11-year career. "We have to pinpoint what the problems are and go from there."

While he's averaged 29.6 points during the seven-game slide, Anthony hasn't received much help on a regular basis from any teammate. New York has averaged 88.4 points and shot 41.3 percent over its last five games.

The Knicks had a season-low point total on 38.6 percent shooting - including 3 of 20 from 3-point range - in a 93-80 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Former Nugget Raymond Felton had 12 points after missing four games because of back and hip injuries.

After averaging 93.3 points on 40.2 percent shooting during an 0-3 start under first-year coach Brian Shaw, Denver (8-6) has found its groove offensively while winning eight of 11.

The Nuggets have put up 108.2 points per game since Nov. 7 - second only to Houston's 108.8. They've shot 48.1 percent from the field in the last seven games and 40.4 percent from 3-point range during their current four-game win streak.

"We're starting to get it," said Shaw, whose club seeks its sixth straight home win after losing its first two. "We're starting to build some momentum."

Denver shot better than 50.0 percent for the second straight contest in a 117-110 victory in Minnesota on Wednesday.

Ty Lawson led eight players in double figures with 23 points and leads the team with a career-high average of 20.9, though he's averaged 14.7 points on 14-of-35 shooting in his last three home games.

Nate Robinson, who began his career with the Knicks, has totaled 32 points and hit 6 of 11 from beyond the arc in his last two games. While with Chicago last season, the reserve guard scored 35 with five 3s in his last meeting with New York.

The Nuggets certainly haven't had trouble scoring when the Knicks have come to Denver, averaging 118.2 points on 50.9 percent shooting during a five-game home winning streak in the series.

New York has dropped 11 of the past 16 meetings overall.

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