Bismack Biyombo scored 16 points and secured 12 rebounds, Malik Monk had 16 points, and Kemba had 20, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Nuggets offensive rebounding and 3-point shooting as the Hornets lost 123-110.
The first half was Bismack Biyombo’s half. He got the start with James Borrego still displeased with the defensive effort of Willy Hernangomez. He scored six early points, four coming off nice dimes from Devonte’ Graham. The Hornets as a team shot well in the opening quarter, but the hot shooting was offset by turnovers and poor defensive rebounding.
The second quarter was much like the first. The shooting numbers evened out as the Hornets cleaned up the glass and turnovers. Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, and Bismack Biyombo all threw down impressive dunks
MALIK MONK WITH SOME MILE-HIGH ELEVATION! pic.twitter.com/Y1N5FNaSgy— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 5, 2019
At the half, the Hornets trailed 58-56. Neither team led by more than seven points throughout the half. Bismack Biyombo led the Hornets in scoring with 14 points and threw in six rebounds to boot.
Marvin Williams kicked off the first half with a 3-pointer, but it was immediately wiped away by a 7-0 Nuggets run. The Hornets retook the lead with just over five minutes to play in the third thanks to a Graham 3-pointer, but it was again short lived. The Nuggets built their lead up to eight before a Malik Monk 3-pointer at the buzzer cut it down to 89-84.
The Nuggets started to create some distance in the early part of the fourth quarter. They connected on four of their five 3-point attempts in the first four minutes of the frame and built their lead up to 12 in the process. That was enough to keep the Hornets at bay, as the visitors couldn’t get stops and couldn’t secure the rebound in the rare instances that they did force Nuggets misses.
Despite the double digit loss, there were lots of positives to take away. Biyombo may have solidified his spot as the starting center in place of the injured Cody Zeller. The team was noticeably more energetic and difficult to score on with him manning the middle. Monk scored a flurry of points in the early parts of the fourth quarter and single handedly kept the Hornets in the game for awhile. Devonte’ Graham dropped eight dimes and hit two 3-pointers in 26 minutes of action.
Up next is a visit to Phoenix to take on a Suns team that has the second worst record in the NBA.