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- Nuggets center JaVale McGee returns to the lineup after missing three games with a sore left shin. McGee is having a strong season with 10.1 points and 1.9 blocks per game off the bench. “He looked good in practice yesterday. Basically I’m going to try to get him to where we were giving him before and go from there,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “If he’s playing well maybe squeeze a few more minutes out of him. But we have to be aware of his conditioning.” Timofey Mozgov, who had picked up McGee’s minutes, will likely see a significantly reduced role.
- The emergence of Bucks center Larry Sanders has drawn comparisons to Denver’s Kenneth Faried. After averaging less than 15 minutes a game in his first two seasons, Sanders is playing more than 25 a night this year and is averaging 8.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks a game. “Kenneth Faried, I never expected him to do what he did last year. We all thought he was an NBA player but to become a big part of your foundation in a short period of time is very unique,” Karl said. “Sanders seems to have done the same thing.” Faried got into the Nuggets lineup with an injury but Sanders had played regularly for the first two years. This year he has become a starter and responded with a breakout year. “Suddenly the light goes on somehow and a guy starts to figure it out, get comfortable and starts to become productive in the NBA,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “You can do a lot of different things in college, dominating the game different ways. You come into the NBA game and it’s not the same. You’ve got to figure out what’s my niche, and Larry’s figured that out.”
- The Bucks will try to reverse some bad history in Denver. They are 8-33 all time in Mile High City and have lost their last four. Their road winning percentage of .195 against the Nuggets is their worst against any NBA team.
– Michael Kelly