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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 2nd (All times eastern)

Denver Nuggets (20-12) at Utah Jazz (18-14), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The reeling Denver Nuggets travel to Salt Lake City tonight to face Northwest Division rival Utah at EnergySolutions Arena.

A groin injury to star point guard Chauncey Billups has coincided with Denver's recent skid. Most recently, Andres Nocioni scored a season-high 21 points off the bench, and the Sacramento Kings grabbed a 106-101 win over the Nuggets on Monday.

Carmelo Anthony had 34 points to pace Denver, which has lost five of six in the continued absence of Billups, who sat for the fifth time in six games with the injury. Nene added a season-high 25 points and eight rebounds, while Ty Lawson contributed 12 points in defeat as the Nuggets dropped their sixth straight as the visitor.

"Lately on the road, we haven't been able to make the plays. We just haven't been able to get over the top," said Nuggets coach George Karl.

Billups remains listed as day-to-day and will be a game-time decision tonight.

The Jazz, meanwhile, have climbed back into the division race recently and stand just two games behind Denver and Portland for the top spot despite a tough 87-86 loss to Oklahoma City in their last affair on Thursday.

Nick Collison sank two free throws with 4.5 seconds left in regulation following a questionable foul call on Paul Millsap in that one, lifting the Thunder.

Carlos Boozer paced the Jazz with 17 points, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews each scored 14 in the loss, Utah's third in five games.

"We played good enough defense to win the basketball game," said Williams. "Offensively, we didn't have everybody going."

Denver has lost in its last four trips to Salt Lake City.

01/02 10:43:52 ET


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