The Denver Nuggets will put their five-game winning streak on the line Friday night when they welcome the New Orleans Hornets to the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets haven't lost since a home setback to the Washington Wizards on Jan. 18. Since, they've won four straight at home and are one of the NBA's best home teams at 19-3.
In January, the Nuggets went 12-3 with only three road games on the schedule. They played the fewest home games in the league to that point and have put themselves squarely in the mix in the Western Conference.
"It was a great month, we needed a special month and I think we got it," said head coach George Karl. "It puts us in position to hopefully have a great season."
The Nuggets defeated the Houston Rockets, 118-110, on Wednesday. Denver trailed by three at the start of the final quarter and captured the final frame, 35-24, to ice the victory.
Danilo Gallinari led the way for the Nuggets with 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting and 4-for-9 from long range. Kenneth Faried, Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson and Andre Miller each scored in double figures.
The Hornets have lost two in a row and four of their last five. This is the fourth game on a five-game road trip for New Orleans, which is 1-2 thus far with a win in Memphis and losses in Los Angeles against the Lakers, and Utah.
Against the Jazz, five Hornets scored in double digits, led by 17 from Greivis Vasquez, who also handed out 13 assists. Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Brook Lopez and Jason Smith cracked the 10-point mark.
The deciding factor in the game came at the foul line. The Jazz attempted 46 free throws and converted 32 of them. The Hornets only had 28 chances from the charity stripe.
"They got to the line 46 times for whatever reason, they were more aggressive or we didn't move our feet," said head coach Monty Williams.
Another problem was the second quarter. The Jazz outscored the Hornets, 32-18, and New Orleans blew a 10-point first-quarter advantage.
"It might be me putting the wrong guys in the game. It seems to be the same few guys making the mistakes," acknowledged Williams. "That may sound harsh. This is a harsh league."
Defense has been a huge thorn in the side of the Hornets. They've allowed 100 or more points in six of their last seven.
The Nuggets won this season's only matchup with New Orleans, a 102-84 decision in Denver on Nov. 25. The Hornets have lost six of their last nine in the Mile High City.