clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Recap: Hornets can’t keep pace with Nikola Jokic and Nuggets, lose 119-105

The Hornets played really well for the first 20 minutes or so, but it fell apart after that.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Charlotte Hornets Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

LaMelo Ball had 18 points and 12 assists while finishing one rebound shy of a double double, but it wasn’t enough as the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Denver Nuggets, 119-105.

Terry Rozier opened the scoring with a little floater. Those two points were the first of seven straight from the Hornets to start the contest. The last of those seven was a 3-pointer from LaMelo Ball for the 46th consecutive game. It ended up being a 13-2 start in favor of the Hornets before the game’s first timeout. That run featured two dunks from Gordon Hayward, including this alley oop.

The dunks were part of what was probably Hayward’s best quarter of the season. He was outscoring the Nuggets 13-12 when he was pulled for his first rest. The Hornets’ play fell off a little bit at that point, and the Nuggets gained some ground. After one, the Hornets led 34-27.

The Hornets looked a little reenergized by the starters coming back into the game to start the second quarter. Washington hit a dunk from Ball and a 3-pointer then Nick Richards hit a rolling hook shot to put the Hornets back up double figures. LaMelo Ball hit back to back threes off the dribble, but 12 straight points from the Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets quickly wiped that away. The Hornets hung on though and took a 60-57 lead into the break.

The second half started much the same way as the first, only opposite. The Nuggets scored 12 of the first 14 points to take the lead away from the Hornets and force a timeout. The Nuggets went on to outscore the Hornets 37-23 in the quarter, putting them 11 heading into the fourth.

Ish Smith drew a couple of charges to short circuit some early Hornets possessions to start the fourth. With Jokic on the bench, the Nuggets ran the “throw the ball at the rim and let DeAndre Jordan dunk it” several times to great success. The Hornets were never able to threaten after that. The teams traded baskets as the game slipped away from the Hornets, who eventually emptied the bench with a couple of minutes left.

LaMelo Ball finished his second straight game one rebounds shy of a triple double. Gordon Hayward and PJ Washington finished with efficient nights, but both were relatively absent in the second half. Dennis Smith had a strong second half en route to 15 points.

Nikola Jokic dominated the Hornets for the second time in as many games, finishing with 30 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists.

The Hornets will take Sunday off before taking on the Hawks on Monday.