The Denver Nuggets are losers of three straight and eight of nine to fall well off the pace in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Brooklyn Nets are enduring a tough road trip and will attempt to take advantage of the Nuggets' swoon when they visit Denver on Thursday. The Nuggets are having problems on both ends of the court and several long-term injuries have not helped, the latest being point guard Ty Lawson.Lawson missed his seventh straight game in Tuesday's 100-95 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and is questionable to return on Thursday due to a rib injury. If Lawson is out again, newcomer Aaron Brooks will get the chance to slow down Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams. The Nets' starters should be well rested despite playing in Portland on Wednesday because none of them played more than 26 minutes as the game got out of hand early and ended up as Brooklyn's largest loss of the season at 124-80.TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNTABOUT THE NETS (26-29): Brooklyn dropped to 2-3 on its seven-game road trip after matching the fourth largest loss in franchise history on Wednesday. The Nets were outrebounded 53-29 by a Portland team missing four frontcourt players and shot just 39.5 percent while showing very little fight in the final 2 1/2 quarters. Williams scored 12 points in 24 minutes on Wednesday and is averaging 18.8 points on the road trip, including 30 points in a win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.ABOUT THE NUGGETS (25-31): One positive for Denver in Tuesday's 100-95 loss to the Blazers was the play of forward J.J. Hickson, who collected 16 points and a career-best 25 rebounds - 15 offensive - while coming off the bench against his former team. "Nothing special, just working hard," Hickson told reporters of the effort. "I felt like I was due for an OK game. I had been struggling the last couple of games. Twenty-five boards is exciting, but the win would have been even more exciting." Hickson's huge effort came after he was bounced from the starting lineup for averaging 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in the previous two contests.BUZZER BEATERS1. The Nuggets have taken the last two meetings, including a 111-87 triumph in Brooklyn on Dec. 3.2. Brooks is averaging 13.3 points and five assists in three games since joining Denver at the trade deadline.3. Brooklyn C Jason Collins is scoreless in 18 total minutes through his first two games.PREDICTION: Nets 109, Nuggets 100