Nuggets coach George Karl insists he doesn't pay attention to records more than quality of play. Therefore, his team's loss to Washington: Not as bad as it seemed. His team's game Friday night against New Orleans: Tougher than the Hornets' 15-31 record made it look.

Karl was right.

The Nuggets and Hornets slugged it out before the home team pulled out a 113-98 victory at the Pepsi Center. For how they operate this season, it was vintage Nuggets — which is to say the Hornets hung around until they were put away in the fourth quarter.

As a result, just like that the Nuggets won their sixth consecutive game and their 13th in the last 16 games. It was said that being home would help after a road-heavy start to the season and, boy, has it.

Buried at the bottom of the playoff race at the start of the new year, the Nuggets are now percentage points out of the fourth slot in the Western Conference.

And there are still two home games remaining before a four-game road trip leading into the NBA all-star break.

Friday's victory was powered by Denver's defense, though the numbers were a bit odd. New Orleans hit 52.8 percent of its shots, a disconcerting number for any team, except Friday the Nuggets had turnovers on their side.

Denver forced 22 New Orleans miscues and cashed in on them all game long. When the dust settled, the Nuggets had scored a season-high 32 points off those turnovers and had 32 fast- break points to go with it, meaning those turnovers were being pushed up the court on a regular basis.