Hornets (3-6), Nuggets (6-4)
It was over when
Carl Landry threw down a monster dunk on Nene to put New Orleans up 89-71 with 3:53 remaining. The Hornets snapped their six-game losing streak in unlikely fashion, shutting down the high-powered Nuggets and prevailing in one of the NBAs toughest arenas for visiting teams. Denver was unbeaten at home entering Mondays game, but the Nuggets were held under 20 points in three of the four quarters.
Hornets MVP: Chris Kamans statistics were excellent (20 points, 7 rebounds), but they told only part of the story. As the Nuggets desperately tried to rally back into contention after falling behind 54-46 at halftime, Kaman made big shot after big shot. He tallied 12 points in the second half, including draining a pair of mid-range jumpers in the fourth quarter to slow Denvers comeback attempt. Prior to the final stanza, Kaman feasted around the basket, dunking twice and scoring repeatedly off post-ups.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Landrys 11-point second quarter turned the momentum of this Western Conference matchup. New Orleans played fairly well early but was down 27-26 after the first period, before Landrys aggressive, take-it-to-the-rim approach powered the visitors to a 28-19 second quarter. Overall, Landry finished with 21 points, including four dunks. The Hornets were plus-20 with the power forward on the floor. Perhaps the best stat for Landry was his eight free throw attempts, another indication of his mindset on offense.
The buzz on
DaJuan Summers debut in a Hornets uniform. Just as Greivis Vasquez was thrown into extensive duty Dec. 26 at Phoenix, Summers received a surprisingly large amount of playing time in his first game and responded nicely. Although it may take him some time to get completely into the flow of the offense, the small forward is considered a capable defensive player, perhaps a big reason why he ended up logging 24 minutes in Denver. Playing behind Al-Farouq Aminu at small forward, Summers only played two fewer minutes than Aminu, despite Aminu (4 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 1 steal) delivering a solid game in most areas other than offense. Summers, a Georgetown product who played the previous two NBA seasons with the Detroit Pistons, knocked down a pair of deep jumpers to account for his four points. He also had three rebounds and two assists.