The Miami Heat will try to get back into the win column Thursday night when they take on the high altitude and high-octane Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
The defending champs dropped a 107-100 matchup to the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night at the Staples Center. The Heat are 2-2 during this six-game road trip that continues Thursday in Denver, then ends Saturday night in Phoenix against the Suns.
The Heat led the Clippers at halftime Wednesday, but Los Angeles blew it open a bit in the third quarter, thanks to a 12-2 and 11 points late in the frame by Chris Paul.
Miami battled back, but the Clippers prevailed.
LeBron James led the way for the Heat with 30 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two blocks. The next highest scorer for the Heat was Ray Allen, who came off the bench for 14 points.
"The road gets tough and we're not playing our best basketball right now," said Allen. "We played well in spurts, but we were not consistent. That's a good team over there and they are a legit contender."
Dwyane Wade only managed six points to go along with five turnovers and Chris Bosh was held to 11 points.
The Nuggets hope to get back on track Thursday and are well-rested. They haven't played since a Monday night setback in Phoenix against the Suns, 110-100.
As always, the Nuggets will look to run and take advantage of Thursday being the second night of a back-to-back.
"The energy of the game is we want to play fast," head coach George Karl said after practice on Wednesday. "(The Heat are) now in that mode that they're not afraid to play fast. It'll be interesting to see what they want to do tomorrow."
In the Suns' loss, Kenneth Faried, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, posted 14 points and 11 boards for his 17th career double-double. Denver fell to 14-3 in games where Faried managed that feat thanks to the loss on Thursday. Faried has posted four consecutive double-doubles.
Thanks to Faried, the Nuggets are the NBA's best rebounding club, averaging 51 per contest. They grab a little over eight more rebounds than their opponent per game and that ranks second to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Nuggets have owned the Heat in the Mile High City with 10 consecutive wins. Miami bested Denver on Nov. 3 when the Nuggets finished out a season- opening three-game road trip with a third straight loss. In the 119-116 loss, seven Nuggets finished in double figures, but Bosh exploded for 40 points.