Sure, the Utah Jazz have won five games in a row, and they've looked mighty good in the process.

But they'll really know if they turned a corner after tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets.

Even without injured point guard Ty Lawson, the Nuggets are clearly the best team the Jazz have faced since they got hot nine days ago. Denver has a 50-24 record and has its grip on the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

"It's a huge contest for us. We need to win games," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Denver is a team that's ahead of us. They're playing really well. … This is a playoff team. We're fighting for our lives in the playoffs. This will be a good test to see where that process is."

Corbin said the Jazz have to be careful to try not to get into a track race with faster-paced Nuggets, who are averaging 105.6 points compared to Utah's 98.6 scoring clip.

"It can be fun," he said, "if you're making shots."

The Nuggets come into this contest having won 16 of 18 games, including a 109-87 blowout of Brooklyn last Friday. That, by the way, was the Nuggets' last game.

Since then, Utah has also knocked off the Nets — 116-107 Saturday — and taken down Portland, 112-102.

The Jazz and Nuggets have each won their home games in the season series this year, with Denver winning most recently, 110-91 on Jan. 5 at the Pepsi Center.

"We know how good they are," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "We see how many teams go into the Pepsi Center and get blown out. We're confident that we're going to come out and play well and play together.

"The biggest thing," he added, " is you've got to believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself and that you can win, then you don't have a chance."