Notebook: Nuggets 102, Hornets 84

Posted Nov 26, 2012 12:08 AM

By Michael Kelly, For

THE FACTS: Andre Iguodala scored 23 points, Ty Lawson had 17 and the Denver Nuggets used a strong start to the third quarter to beat the New Orleans Hornets 102-84 on Sunday night.

Kenneth Faried notched his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets (8-6), who have won four straight.

Brian Roberts had 17 off the bench to lead New Orleans (3-9) and Ryan Anderson had 16 for the Hornets, who have lost seven straight. New Orleans played without star rookie Anthony Davis, who missed his fourth straight game with a stress reaction in his left ankle.

QUOTABLE: "I'm not even all the way there yet. I'd say I'm about 70 percent understanding what [Denver coach George Karl] wants. I'm starting to get a better feel for my teammates and where they're going to be at and we're not even 15 games in yet. I didn't think I was going to hit my stride until January, so hopefully I can stay consistent throughout the rest of the feeling-out stage and then be ready, boom, once January comes around."

-- Andre Iguodala on his comfort level a month into his first season with the Nuggets

THE STAT: The Nuggets have been doing a lot of damage at the start of the second half. In the last three games, Denver has outscored its opponents 45-16 in the first five minutes of the third quarter. They went on a 15-7 run out of the locker room against New Orleans.

TURNING POINT: The Nuggets used that run to go up 18 midway through the third, and then they put this one away. Iguodala hit a 3-pointer and Lawson intercepted the inbounds pass for an easy layup to but Denver ahead 71-48. The lead quickly grew to 28 before New Orleans called a timeout.

QUOTABLE II: "That's a point we wanted to step on their neck, make sure they didn't have a chance to make a late-game run."

-- Ty Lawson

HOT: Denver's coaching staff has wanted Lawson to take control all year, and he showed he can in the third quarter. He had a modest six points and five assists at half but got rolling in the third quarter. His steal and layup was just one part of a string of nine straight points that gave the Nuggets a comfortable lead heading into the fourth.

QUOTABLE III: "Not any good thing to take from a game like this. The NBA is a cruel league. They try to embarrass you every night and that's what you saw tonight."

-- New Orleans coach Monty Williams

NOT: Anderson matched Iguodala with 16 points in the first half but couldn't find traction in the second half. He missed both of his shots in the second half and had only one assist after intermission.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Iguodala has been putting up some big games for the Nuggets. He is averaging 23.3 points in the last three games while he's still trying to get used to Denver's system.

INSIDE THE ARENA: Swimmer Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals and a bronze at the 2012 Olympics, presented the game ball before the opening tip. Franklin is a senior at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Col., and just committed to swim at Cal next year.

GOOD MOVE: Jordan Hamilton gave the fans who stuck around a treat with his dunk in the final minute. He went high to grab Corey Brewer's alley-oop and jammed it home with one hand for Denver's final points of the night.

BAD MOVE: After two straight overtime games, the Hornets looked tired in the second half. They never adjusted to the Nuggets' pressure and, save for a seven-point burst when they fell behind by 28, they didn't show any life.

ROOKIE WATCH: Roberts doesn't get the notoriety of Davis, but he was the best rookie on the floor Sunday. He hit 7 of his 12 shots and had five assists. Teammate and fellow rookie Austin Rivers missed 8 of his 10 shots and had five points.

NOTABLE: Denver tied its season high with 12 blocks. Kosta Koufas tied a career high with five blocks, the third time he's accomplished it and the second time this month. ... This was fifth time the Hornets have been held to less than 90 points. ... New Orleans shot 38.8 percent from the field. The Nuggets are 5-1 when holding their opponent below 40-percent.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Monday @ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday vs. Utah, Saturday vs. Oklahoma City. For the Nuggets, Monday @ Utah, Thursday @ Golden State, Friday @ L.A. Lakers