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Game Preview: Charlotte Hornets visit Denver Nuggets

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Can the Hornets, again without Kemba Walker, steal a much needed road win against the Nuggets? Or will the altitude and the speedy Ty Lawson get the best of them?

The past versus the future?
The past versus the future?
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday 9:00 PM EST

Where: Denver, Colorado. Pepsi Center.

How to Watch: Fox SportsSouth, NBA League Pass

The Charlotte Hornets have won their last three games against the Denver Nuggets, including a road victory last year.  In those games Charlotte averaged 105.3 points per contest. That will be hard to come by this Saturday considering they have averaged just 91.9 points per game over their last ten and will be without Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Jannero Pargo, and possibly Marvin Williams.

Despite the potential scoring issues, Charlotte comes to the mountains having won seven of their last ten. The team even played decently for stretches in a road loss against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs last Wednesday.

Denver on the other hand has been struggling and are losers of eight of their last ten. Prior to their win against New Orleans, the Nuggets had lost six in a row. Despite the poor stretch, Denver's Ty Lawson continues to have a great season averaging 17 points and 10 assists.

Also, Jusuf Nurkic, the 16th pick in the 2014 NBA draft, has been starting and playing pretty well since Denver traded Timofey Mozgov to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Averaging almost eight points and eight rebounds in just 21 minutes a night as a starter, Nurkic will provide an interesting cover for Al Jefferson, who shares Nurkic's desire to turn his back to the basket and operate down low.

Matchup to watch: Arron Afflalo versus Gerald Henderson. In 12 career games against each other, they're currently tied with six wins apiece. These two guys have been mentiond in trade rumors seemingly every month for the last two years. Their styles of play are very similar. Both can handle the ball a little bit and go down to the post and initiate offense, but Affllo is the superior shooter (35 percent on 4.6 3-point attempts per game) and Henderson the superior athlete.  Whoever wins this matchup could make the difference.

Things to fear: Ty Lawson going full speed at a pick-and-roll is a tough cover for even the best defenders. Brian Roberts trying to slow down this action, with likely Al Jefferson behind him, could lead to all sorts of problems for the Hornets. Need another reason to be worried about this? Look no further than to Charlotte's last game against the Spurs. Tony Parker went to work early and often against Roberts and scored nine points in just eight minutes during the first quarter. The less Denver coach Brian Shaw goes with this play call and the more he tries to attack Jefferson in the low-post, the better things will be for Charlotte. Keep your fingers crossed for Brian Roberts on this one.

Up Next: Charlotte ends a three game road trip against the Wizards on Monday night.