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Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets

February 23, 2007

NBA Basketball - Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets (-4, 213) 10:30 PM EST

Carmelo AnthonyThis Northwest Division contest is strictly a case who can and who can't play. Allen Iverson is still banged up and is far from 100 percent by his own admission, yet will give it a go. That is not the case for guard J.R. Smith, who tore up his left knee two days ago and is expected to miss three to four weeks.

Utah's Carlos Boozer has returned to practice and had set this game as a return date; this will be a game time decision. Finally, Deron Williams is questionable after suffering strained left groin during the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge over the weekend. He missed the Portland game and will test it in warm-ups tonight to see if he can go.

Of course all of players are intertwined in what the side and total will eventually be. No matter who is available, Utah is intent about taking care of business in this division tilt. The Jazz have beaten Denver all three times this season and five in a row overall and could essentially place themselves in position to wrap up first division title in seven years with a win. "It's important not to let them back in the race," said Jazz forward Matt Harpring. "Not just for the race, but to establish that we can beat them. You never know who you might end up playing in the postseason."

Utah had a six game winning streak coming out of the break and played without much inspiration in overtime loss at Portland. They will want to quickly reassert themselves and improve on 13-12-1 ATS road record. 

Denver just can't stay healthy enough to really determine if they are a better then average basketball club. In terms of ordinary the Nuggets do justice to the word itself. George Karl's club is 26-26, 14-14 at home and without too much imagination has a matching spread record.

Many have chosen to look at Carmelo Anthony as the problem and the solution. Anthony is still the league's leading scorer at better then 30 points a game, but his actions caused his suspension, and sent repercussions throughout the team that are still being felt today. released their number late on this contest, showing Denver as 4.5-point favorite with a total of 211.

Utah is 5-2 straight up and 5-2 ATS when playing with two days on the season. Generally speaking they have bounced back from a loss with 12-5 record, yet still just 9-7-1 ATS. The Jazz offer more value on the total with 12-5 mark favoring the Over.

Carmelo's crew is also playing with two days off and is mediocre 3-3 against the spread. The greatest value Denver has is they are 9-4 ATS at the Pepsi Center playing a team with a winning road record. The Nuggets have failed to cover the last four times in division games.

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