March 2, 2024

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Nuggets dominate short-handed Hornets, extend losing streak to 11 with 111-93 win

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IMPRESSIVE. Jamal Murray’s 25-point performance lifts the Denver Nuggets’ 111-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (Tuesday, January 2, Philippine time). DENVER NUGGETS PHOTO

The Denver Nuggets secured a 111-93 victory on home court over the short-handed Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (Tuesday, January 2, Philippine time), extending the Hornets’ losing streak to a challenging 11 games.
Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with an impressive 25 points, while Michael Porter Jr. added 22 to contribute to the well-rounded offensive effort. Nikola Jokic posted a double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, showcasing his versatility and impact on both ends of the court.
The Hornets, missing key players including Terry Rozier due to illness, LaMelo Ball with a right ankle sprain, and Gordon Hayward nursing a left calf strain, faced an uphill battle from the start. Despite the absence of key contributors, Miles Bridges stepped up for Charlotte, leading the team with 26 points. Nick Richards and Brandon Miller each contributed 15 points in the effort.
Denver’s Aaron Gordon made a triumphant return to the court after recovering from cuts to his hand and face, the result of a dog bite on Christmas Day. Playing with a protective bandage on his right hand, Gordon contributed 10 points, bringing energy to the Nuggets on both ends of the floor.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone praised his team’s defensive efforts, stating that their defense led to offense.
The Nuggets, who had previously defeated the Hornets on December 23 in Charlotte, replicated their success with another dominant performance. Denver outscored Charlotte 40-17 in the third quarter, including a remarkable 20-2 run to start the second half. Murray’s three-pointer during this stretch extended Denver’s lead to 69-51, establishing control midway through the period.
Denver’s ability to score 40 or more points in a quarter for the seventh time this season underscored their offensive firepower. The Nuggets’ balanced attack, combined with stifling defense, proved too much for the depleted Hornets.
Ish Smith, starting in place of the absent Terry Rozier, had a reunion of sorts as he received his championship ring from his former teammates in a brief pregame ceremony. Smith, who played with the Nuggets last season when they won the NBA title, contributed 10 points against his former team.
Despite the challenging circumstances, Smith remained optimistic about the Hornets’ growth through adversity, saying that they’ve got to learn and grow through losses.
As Denver celebrated another convincing win, the Hornets will look to regroup and bounce back, hoping to end their losing streak when they face their next challenge in the competitive NBA landscape.

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