DENVER - While the Denver Nuggets certainly miss Carmelo Anthony and his 24 points a game, they still have been able to put the ball in the basket on a consistent basis, averaging 104.5 points in the two games he had missed.

Anthony missed his third straight game last night due to the death of his sister last Tuesday in Baltimore.

Scoring for the 76ers, though, has been about as scarce as snow has been recently in the Denver area. It was 55 and sunny here yesterday.

The Sixers have scored just under 89 points a game over their past eight, including only 78 in their past two. Coach Doug Collins is aware of his club's lack of firepower and acknowledges they have to overcome it with some lockdown defense.

Now, their ace scorer off the bench, Lou Williams, is out as he attends to the birth of his first child in Philadelphia.

"Evan [Turner] will come in now [as the first guard off the bench] and we have to play with our rotations a little bit," said Collins before last night's game with the Nuggets. "With Evan, we've got to get him back and get him aggressive again.

"I talked to him about pushing the ball and being more aggressive and getting on the boards. I told him the other night [after a 46-point loss in Chicago on Tuesday], 'I don't care if you shoot 2-for-11, but you played almost 30 minutes and you had no defensive rebounds.' That's where I want him picking it up again.

"He's hard to figure out sometimes, he doesn't say a whole lot. I think he's pretty introspective right now with everything. He's going through that typical rookie time right now where you have been in about 30 games, which is about a college season. He's had some great moments, some ups-and-downs. This is a nice time for him to get out on the road and start moving this thing back in a positive direction."

It's a good time for the whole team to start doing that on the offensive end, particularly the guards. In the past four games, Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner have combined for just 70 points. Though the backcourt - besides Williams - has given much offensive punch, Holiday doesn't see it as being a positional problem.

"I think the key for me is to be aggressive," he said. "I think last game [15 points in Boston] I was aggressive. I need to stick with that. Jodie hasn't been scoring that much, so he knows he needs to step that up, Evan needs to step us his scoring, and me. But a guy like [forward/center] Mo [Speights] can really give us some firepower.

"It matters [that the guards aren't scoring], it has to come from somewhere. I just don't think we think about it like that. If somebody has the hot hand, we go to them. We know Lou is definitely somebody we do rely on because he has that ability, but I don't think we [guards] think about it like we have to score."

Meeks particularly has been struggling of late, not scoring in double figures in any of the past five games heading into last night. Part of it is other teams' newfound knowledge of Meeks, part of it is he's still learning the spot in just his second season.

"Jodie is now on the [other team's] scouting report," said Collins. "We kid him about it that no longer can he come into a game and no one knows who you are. They know that you can really shoot the ball and all of a sudden he can hit three or four threes and he just puts so much energy to our team.

"He's not getting any shots at all really. The other night, he got three in Boston. They are chasing him off that three-point line and he's shooting contested shots in the lane. He has to learn that little pull-up, that little floater when he gets to run off that three-point line. And when he can't get to the basket, he can get that little floating shot in the lane. He's not real comfortable with that right now. Sometimes when he goes to the basket, he'll go away from contact and with his body I'd like to see him create contact a little bit more and put the onus on the official to either call a foul or play-on kind of thing."

Back together

After a few days off to enjoy the holiday, the team reconvened in Denver on Saturday night for a 2-hour practice, the first time they'd been on the court together since Wednesday's loss in Boston.

"The first 15 minutes, we had a lot of guys who were huffing and puffing," Collins said, "but we played through it and I'm hoping we got our lungs and legs back."

Not back with the team was assistant coach Brian James. He is in Illinois to attend the funeral for his father, who passed away Wednesday. The service is tomorrow.

Good endorsement

Denver coach George Karl, who recently collected his 1,000th coaching victory, said he sees bright things ahead for the Sixers.

"They play well off their defense," Karl said. "I think coach Collins is teaching them a lot fundamentally. I think you'll see them open up a little bit as the season goes on as they get more familiar with what Doug wants and he also gets familiar with them."

For more Sixers coverage, read the Daily News' Sixers blog, Sixerville, at http://go.philly.com/sixerville.

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