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Hornets fade in the second half and lose to Nuggets, 100-86

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The Hornets played well for stretches but couldn’t keep it up for a full 48 minutes on the final game of their road trip.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Rozier scored 20 points and dished nine assists, but the Charlotte Hornets couldn’t keep pace with the Denver Nuggets and lost, 100-86.

If you want a recap of the first three quarters of tonight’s game, you can just read the recap for the Hornets game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Much like Monday night, the Hornets took a couple minutes to get their first bucket. They played evenly with a superior Western Conference opponent for the whole first quarter. PJ Washington was the star of this first quarter, going on a personal 7-0 run at one point. After one, the Hornets trailed by three.

Again, much like Monday night, the Hornets went cold in the second quarter. A single Nugget dominated their side of the court—Michael Porter Jr. The second year forward scored 11 points in the quarter (part of 17 first half points), and they all came within a span of about a minute-and-a-half. The Hornets held steady through that, but fell apart as the end of the half drew near. The Nuggets closed the half on a 14-3 run and took a 15 point lead into the half.

The parallels don’t stop there. The Hornets rained 3-pointers in the third quarter and pulled themselves back within striking distance. The team hit six shots from deep with Terry Rozier contributing half of those. The Hornets closed the third quarter on a 21-6 run to what had been a 20 point deficit into a five point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

That’s what there the parallels ended. Be it because of road weary legs in altitude or something else, the Hornets couldn’t keep pace in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets outscored the Hornets 20-5 in the first eight minutes of the quarter, and PJ Dozier outscored the Hornets 10-5 in that same span. The Hornets couldn’t make a game of it from there, and the benches were emptied by game’s end.

All five Hornets scored in double figures. Along with Rozier’s 20, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, and Devonte’ Graham scored 14 apiece. Cody Zeller scored 11.

Thus ends a grueling five game Western Conference road trip. The Hornets have now lost six straight games, but they get a much needed break at the perfect time. They won’t play again until Monday against the Magic, and then they’ll have another three days off as they get ready to travel to Paris.