Hornets.com postgame: Nuggets 110, Hornets 97

Friday, March 9, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Nuggets (23-18), Hornets (9-31)

It was over when… Nene powered to the hoop for a conventional three-point play, giving the Nuggets a 102-85 lead with 4:41 remaining. Denver picked up a necessary win, while handing New Orleans its fourth consecutive loss and third on the current road trip. The Hornets will be in Minnesota on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game that concludes this week’s trek.

Hornets MVP: Lance Thomas’ previous high scoring game during his brief NBA career was eight points. He more than doubled that in Denver, largely behind a fierce effort in the paint that yielded 14 free-throw attempts. The Duke University product sank 12 foul shots to go with two mid-range jumpers and a putback for a total of 18 points off the bench.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Seven days after the finest performance of his Hornets tenure – a 19-point outing to help beat Dallas – Xavier Henry was in double digits again. The second-year swingman made a concerted effort to drive to the hoop in the second half, tallying all of his 12 points after intermission. The Kansas product dropped in three layups and a deep two-point jumper, along with going 4-for-4 on free throws.

The buzz on… the newest Hornet, 7-foot center Jeff Foote. Signed to a 10-day contract this morning, the Cornell University product had a whirlwind first day in the league. Foote flew to Denver and met his new teammates for the first time only hours before the game, then was given 23 minutes of playing time. He appeared to be trying to get acclimated on offense – understandable given how much he needs to learn in a short amount of time – including one instance where he drifted into Jarrett Jack’s dribble path twice on the same play. The next few days figure to be a cram session for the Ivy League graduate, but it appeared likely in Friday’s game that he’ll be given an excellent chance to show what he can do. At the moment, there are no healthy true centers on the roster aside from Foote and Chris Kaman. In fact, Foote actually logged more minutes against the Nuggets than Kaman (21). Foote delivered several solid plays, scoring his first-ever NBA basket by scooping up a loose ball and dropping in a layup. He had a second close-range bucket in the fourth quarter. He added four defensive rebounds.