The Charlotte Hornets are rounding the halfway point of their four-game homestand still eyeing their first win, which they’ll look to snag tonight against the Denver Nuggets beginning at 7 PM EST at Spectrum Center.
Despite trailing by 17 points in the second quarter, the San Antonio Spurs rallied to squeak out a late 104-103 win over the Hornets on Tuesday evening. Terry Rozier (20 points), PJ Washington (19) and Miles Bridges (15) all scored 15+ points for a Hornets squad that committed 17 turnovers for 19 opposing points and was without starting point guard Devonte’ Graham (left ankle soreness) as well.
“I think everybody stepped up,” said Washington after the loss. “We knew it was going to be hard without [Devonte’]. We tried to fill his role a little bit, but he’s obviously one of the better players in this league. We need him and we’ll be excited when he comes back.” Coach Borrego added, “Without Devonte’, other guys were handling the ball and that was an issue for us with turnovers, but in general, we fought and competed.”
Charlotte wrapped up a four-game road trip with a 100-86 loss in Denver back on Jan. 15, getting a team-high 20 points from Rozier and 14 points apiece from Washington, Bridges and Graham. Michael Porter Jr. (19 points), Mason Plumlee (15) and two-way player PJ Dozier (12) helped the Nuggets’ bench outscore its visiting counterpart by a whopping and decisive 52-13 margin.
Denver has claimed wins in seven of its last 11 outings, although is coming off a 116-100 home loss to the last-place Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, a game in which it was outscored by 15 points in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets lead the NBA in offensive rating during this stretch (117.0), sit 21st in defensive rating (113.9) and are allowing the fifth-most opposing points off turnovers (19.6 PPG).
Reigning All-NBA First-Team center Nikola Jokić (23.2 PPG on 62.3% shooting and 7.2 APG) and Jamal Murray (22.5 PPG on 51.4% shooting; 40.0% from three) continue to be the focal points of the Denver offense across this aforementioned stretch. After forcing just 10 turnovers against San Antonio, the Hornets’ defense needs to get back to being disruptive in order to keep the visiting Nuggets on their heels at the other end.
Game Notes: Denver F Noah Vonleh (right ankle sprain) has missed the team’s last three outings… Charlotte has won three straight home meetings with Denver (last loss: March 19, 2016)… The Nuggets are 15-8 against the Eastern Conference this season and 17-12 overall on the road.