Game Preview: Nuggets Look to Stay Undefeated in 2019 Against Hornets
The Denver Nuggets return home to take on the Charlotte Hornets this afternoon at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets have started 2019 with two wins as part of their four-game win streak, their latest win a 117-113 triumph in Sacramento against the Kings. The Nuggets and Hornets last met on December 7 in Charlotte. The Hornets got the best of the Nuggets that night, pulling out a 113-107 win.
The Nuggets are off to their best start in franchise history with a 25-11 record and sit in first place in the Western Conference. Denver has won their last four games, all by seven points or less. In Thursday’s win over Sacramento, the Nuggets were led by Jamal Murray who scored 34 of his game-high 36 points in the second half. Nikola Jokić had another stellar performance with 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
The Hornets are 18-19, a record that puts them seventh in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte is 4-6 over their last 10 games but just 2-4 over their last six outings. The Hornets last played on Wednesday, losing by 38 to the Dallas Mavericks.
Here is what to watch for tonight:
The dynamic duo: Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić combined to score 62 of Denver’s 117 points on Thursday. The pair also combined for 12 of the team’s 24 assists on the night. Murray erupted in the second half against the Kings for 34 of his 36 points. Murray has scored 30+ in three of his last four games and has shot 57.6% from three over that period.
Jokić and Murray both struggled from the field in the first game against the Hornets as they shot 14-of-38 from the floor and 0-10 from three. The pair did combine for 13 assists in the game.
Stopping the Charlotte backcourt: Kemba Walker is the All-Star point guard for the Hornets but it was his teammates off the bench who hurt the Nuggets the most in the first matchup. 36-year old Tony Parker scored 19 points off the bench for the Hornets while 20-year old Malik Monk scored 16.
The Nuggets limited Walker to 21 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Walker did most of his damage at the free throw line, shooting 11-of-12 on the night. Walker is averaging 29.2 points per game over his last 5 games.
Rotations: The Nuggets are getting closer to full strength as Paul Millsap has now been back for three games and Gary Harris has been back for two. Harris and Millsap both scored in double figures on Thursday. Millsap contributed 10 points while Harris added 14 points. Both have seen their roles increase as they work their way back to full strength.
Today’s game is an earlier tipoff at 3:00 p.m. MT. The game will be aired on Altitude TV and the AltitudeNow app. Fans can listen on Altitude Radio, 92.5 FM.