A half game separates the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz in the standings, but the trajectories of the two teams are anything but similar.
Denver has won five of their last seven and nine of their 13, while Utah is still reeling from a season-high six-game losing streak and has dropped eight of their past 10.
Much of Utah's losing can be attributed to the absence of point guard Deron Williams. Williams has missed the Jazz's last four games with a wrist injury and is listed as day-to-day.
In Williams' absence Paul Millsap has emerged as the Jazz's offensive weapon. In the four games without Williams, Millsap has averaged 19 points, including a 30 point output against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Williams' first game absent.
There is no lack of star power for the Nuggets recently, though. In their 109-90 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, the Nuggets produced three 20-point scorers, in Nene, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Nene added 10 rebounds to go with his 22 points to secure his eighth double-double of the season.
Tonight's game tips in front of a national audience on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. MT. You can also catch the game locally on Altitude.