Notebook: Hornets 110, Nuggets 86

Posted Mar 25, 2013 11:45 PM

By Bradley Handwerger, for

THE FACTS: The Denver Nuggets' 15-game winning streak came to a halt in one of the unlikeliest of places Monday night, as the New Orleans Hornets rolled to a 110-86 win.

The Hornets (25-46), the second-worst team in the Western Conference, did it by starting three rookies due to injuries. Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez sat with ankle issues and watched as Brian Roberts dished out 18 assists, Darius Miller went 6-for-7 for a career-high 16 points and Anthony Davis had 14 points and six rebounds. Ryan Anderson led the way with 23 points.

Denver (49-23) led only once, after Kosta Koufos tipped in a missed shot. After that, the game was all New Orleans. The Hornets' lead never shrank below nine points after Anderson hit one of his five 3-pointers with 8:30 to play in the second quarter. New Orleans kept the league's third-highest scoring team to 86 points by forcing bad or contested shots, allowing the Nuggets to shoot only 37.9 percent for the game. And when Denver was missing, New Orleans was scooping up the loose ball, outrebounding the Nuggets by 12.

The Hornets also made the Nuggets pay for turning the ball over, scoring 22 points on 14 turnovers. Nearly everyone helped for New Orleans. Anderson went 5-for-11 from 3-point range. Roger Mason Jr. added 14 points, hitting f4-for-5 on treys.

Denver's troubles began before the game even began as point guard Ty Lawson was deemed out for the third game in a row with a right heel strain/contusion. The man who started in his place, Andre Miller, finished with only nine points and six assists in 39 minutes. Danilo Gallinari had a game-high 24 points, the lone bright spot for a Denver team that must turn around and play at San Antonio on Wednesday night.

QUOTABLE: "When you lose Greivis and Eric and you're already missing Jason [Smith] and Austin [Rivers], it's pretty bleak when you look at it on paper. We always talk about competing every night because you never know. Some guys step up and have career nights against a team that's playing better than anybody except for Miami."

--Hornets coach Monty Williams

THE STAT: 14-for-25 — that's what the Hornets were from 3-point range, a scorching 56 percent from behind the arc. The Nuggets are allowing opponents to make just 36.2 percent from 3-point range this season. Mason and his rookie teammate Miller were combined 8-for-10 from that range.

TURNING POINT: The Nuggets' Miller hit a layup with 6:55 to go in the first quarter cutting New Orleans' lead down to 10-8. That's as close as the Nuggets would be the rest of the night. New Orleans ran off a 15-3 run in the next three minutes that for all intents and purposes was all the Hornets would ultimately need.

QUOTABLE II: "I think a lot of these last three games we played were human nature. We win some games, we think we're a little bit better than we are. We're human beings; we're feeling good. This league has a way of humbling anybody who doesn't have the right karma or the right approach to playing basketball."

--Denver coach George Karl

HOT: New Orleans' Miller had started only one game previously. But he took advantage of his second start, going 6-for-7, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range for a career-high 16 points. He also had three rebounds and one assist, steal and block each.

NOT: Denver's bench didn't help the team much, going a combined 10-for-33 in the game. Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer took the bulk of those shots but couldn't find their rhythm.

NOTABLE: The Nuggets shot 39 free throws to New Orleans' 15. ... Denver's 31 made free throws tied a season high for the club. ... The Hornets outscored the league's best team in the paint 44-38. ... Roberts, the New Orleans rookie, recorded his first career double-double (13 points, 18 assists). The 18 assists is a season-high for New Orleans. ... The Hornets tied a season-high with 10 blocked shots.

UP NEXT: For the Hornets, Friday vs. Miami, Sunday vs. Cleveland, Wednesday @ Golden State. For the Nuggets, Wednesday @ San Antonio, Friday vs. Brooklyn, Wednesday @ Utah.