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Nuggets-Cavaliers Preview

AP - Sports

While the Denver Nuggets have been one of the NBA's highest-scoring teams all season, their offense has peaked during their current tear.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have also stepped up their offensive production while putting together their best stretch.

The pace could be fast and furious in Cleveland on Saturday night when the Nuggets look for their first nine-game winning streak in eight seasons versus a Cavaliers team trying to win four straight for the first time in the post-LeBron James era.

After winning seven of their eight straight at home, Denver (32-18) hopes to carry that success on its four-game road trip. The Nuggets have won 14 of 16 to move into the fourth spot in the Western Conference.

They haven't won nine in a row since claiming 10 straight during the 2004-05 season.

Denver, which ranks near the top of the league in scoring (104.7 ppg), reached its highest point total of the season with a 128-96 win over defensive-minded Chicago on Thursday.

The Nuggets' offense has overwhelmed everyone during their streak, scoring 115.0 points per game while shooting 50.1 percent from the field.

"We're out here trying to do our best and we're out here trying to set records," said forward Kenneth Faried, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds against a Bulls team that ranks near the top of the NBA defensively.

Faried has made a big impact lately, averaging 16.5 points while shooting 66.7 percent from the field in his last four games. He also had 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 11 rebounds in a 98-91 win over Cleveland on Jan. 11.

Denver leading scorer Danilo Gallinari had 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while center Kosta Koufos had a career-high 21 in that meeting, its fifth win in six games in this series.

While they're the only team to hold Denver under 100 points at home since Jan. 5, the Cavaliers (16-34) have given up an average of 107.6 points in their last five games overall. Cleveland, though, has overcome its defensive shortcomings by averaging 118.7 points - 21.7 above its season average - during their three-game winning streak.

The Cavaliers haven't won four straight since taking eight in a row at the end of James' final season in 2009-10.

Cleveland made a season-high 34 free throws in 41 attempts in a 119-108 victory over Orlando on Friday for its sixth win in eight games.

"We're making steps in the right direction,'' coach Byron Scott said. "We're playing good basketball right now, but we can play better.''

Guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters combined for 39 points on 15-of-27 shooting on Friday and totaled 46 while shooting 17 for 39 from the field in the first meeting with the Nuggets.

Irving has scored 29.1 points per game and hit 21 of 35 from 3-point range in his last eight at home.

Forward Marreese Speights may also be a factor, having averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in six games since being acquired from Memphis.

The Cavaliers hope to be far more efficient from beyond the arc after shooting 5 for 24 in the first meeting. They've made 25 of 56 (44.6 percent) from 3-point range in their last three games.

The Nuggets, however, have won six of their last eight trips to Cleveland.

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