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Preview: Jazz (25-57) at Nuggets (36-46)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Date: February 04, 2011 10:30 PM EDT
  

The good news about Deron Williams' right wrist injury is it does not appear to be serious.

The bad news for the Utah Jazz is even if he's ready to return, they still have to visit the Denver Nuggets.

Williams' status is uncertain for Friday night, when the Jazz, losers of six straight road games, try to avoid dropping their sixth in a row in Denver.

Utah (29-21) has split its last four games with Williams sidelined. The star point guard, averaging team highs of 21.9 points and 9.4 assists, saw a hand specialist Wednesday and an MRI confirmed that it's just a strained tendon.

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Williams received some good news a day later when he was named to his second straight All-Star game.

If Williams, listed as day-to-day, is unable to go, Earl Watson would likely make a fifth straight start in his place.

Watson finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Wednesday's disappointing 97-96 home loss to Houston. The Rockets' Kevin Martin completed a three-point play with 6.9 seconds, and C.J. Miles missed a last-second shot that would have won it for Utah, 2-8 since Jan. 17.

"It's definitely tough on your home floor,' said Miles, who came off the bench and finished with 18 points. "And then, when you have that look at it to win the game, it makes it even tougher.'

Now a Jazz team that is scuffling on the road tries to bound back in Denver, where it has struggled mightily.

Utah has lost six straight away from Salt Lake City since a 103-99 overtime win at Houston on Jan. 8. Most of these games haven't been close, with the Jazz losing the last four by an average of 19.7 points.

This is Utah's longest road losing streak since dropping seven in a row from Dec. 4-19, 2007.

The Nuggets (29-20), meanwhile, have won six of seven at the Pepsi Center, and have the Western Conference's second-best home record at 21-5. They've also won five straight home games over the Jazz since a 118-115 overtime loss on Feb. 6, 2008.

Utah has had no answer for Denver's offense in these games, with the Nuggets averaging 114.8 points.

The Jazz are experiencing similar defensive problems during their current road skid, allowing an average of 105.5 points on 51.4 percent shooting. Utah is 2-9 when giving up at least 100 on the road, while the Nuggets are 19-2 when reaching the century mark in Denver.

In the only meeting between these teams this season, Denver cruised to an easy 110-88 home win in the season opener for both clubs. Williams had 17 points on 3 of 10 shooting with six assists, while Carmelo Anthony finished with 23 points before sitting out most of the fourth quarter.

Anthony, a four-time All-Star, totaled 67 points in two home games against the Jazz last season.

The Nuggets returned home Wednesday and beat Portland 109-90 after dropping the final two stops on a five-game trip. Anthony and Chauncey Billups each scored 20, while Nene led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds for Denver.

"You don't win championships individually," George Karl told the Nuggets' official website. "You win championships by guys understanding who they are, but they make each other better and play together in a rhythm. We've had games like that, but tonight (Wednesday) was probably as solid and consistent as we've had all year long."

The Nuggets have won nine of 13.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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