Updated January 2nd, 2024 at 15:19 IST
Murray scores 25 points, Porter adds 22 as Nuggets beat Hornets 111-93
Nuggets sent the Hornets to their 11th straight loss. Two of those losses have come against the Nuggets in the last 1 1/2 weeks.
Jamal Murray scored 25 points and Michael Porter Jr. added 22 as the Denver Nuggets beat the short-handed Charlotte Hornets 111-93 on Monday night.
Nikola Jokic had 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as the Nuggets sent the Hornets to their 11th straight loss. Two of those losses have come against the Nuggets in the last 1 1/2 weeks.
Aaron Gordon, who suffered cuts to his hand and face when he was bitten by a dog on Christmas Day, had 10 points in his return for Denver.
Miles Bridges led Charlotte with 26 points, and Nick Richards and Brandon Miller each scored 15.
Gordon rejoined the Nuggets in time for practice on Sunday after missing two games.
“You could tell the guys were genuinely excited to see him,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said before the game. “I had had like really worst-case scenario images in my mind. But when he walked in, thank goodness, he looked good. He didn’t have, like, crazy stiches all over his face, got the one in the right hand but having him back meant a lot.”
Gordon played with a small protective bandage on his right hand and his facial cuts were barely visible.
The Hornets, meanwhile, had to contend with the absence of another of their leading scorers as Terry Rozier missed the game due to illness. The team was already without LaMelo Ball (right ankle sprain) and Gordon Hayward (left calf strain).
In Rozier's place, the Hornets started Ish Smith, who was with the Nuggets last season when Denver won its first NBA title. He received his championship ring from his former Denver teammates in a brief pregame ceremony.
Bridges hit a mid-range jumper in the waning seconds of the second quarter, pulling the Hornets into a 49-all tie at halftime.
The Nuggets pulled away after the break, outscoring the Hornets 40-17 in the third quarter, including a 20-2 run to start the second half capped by a 3-pointer from Murray that put Denver up 69-51 midway through the period. It was the seventh time this season that Denver scored 40 or more points in a quarter.
The Nuggets defeated the Hornets in similar fashion on Dec. 23 in Charlotte, when they outscored the Hornets 30-9 in the third quarter en route to a 102-85 win.
Denver took an 89-66 lead into the fourth quarter and began substituting freely. Charlotte made little headway against the deficit the rest of the way.
Hornets: At Sacramento on Tuesday night to continue a six-game trip.
Nuggets: At Golden State on Wednesday night.
Published January 2nd, 2024 at 15:19 IST