NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Charlotte 26 30 28 26 110
Denver 31 27 31 34 123
2:00 PM PT3:00 PM MT4:00 PM CT5:00 PM ET22:00 GMT6:00 3:00 PM MST5:00 PM EST2:00 UAE (+1)23:0017:00 ET4:00 PM CTNaN:� , January 5, 2019
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 19,861

Hornets-Nuggets Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Charlotte Hornets at Denver Nuggets

  1. The Hornets scored a season-low 84 points in their Wednesday loss to the Mavericks. Charlotte shot 35.6 percent from the field in the loss, the 20th time the Hornets have shot below 45.0 percent in a game this season. Only the Bulls (25), Pistons, Heat and Knicks (22 each) have done so more frequently.
  2. Kemba Walker shot 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from the field in the loss, missing all five of his three-point attempts. The Hornets have gone 1-6 (.143) this season when Walker makes one or fewer three-pointers compared to 17-13 (.567) when he makes at least two from beyond the arc.
  3. The Nuggets are riding a four-game win streak after beating the Kings, 117-113, in Sacramento on Thursday. It is their fifth win streak of at least four games this season, most in the NBA.
  4. Jamal Murray led the Nuggets in scoring in the win over the Kings, dropping 36 on 50.0 percent shooting from both the field (12-of-24) and from three (6-of-12). The Nuggets have gone 9-0 this season when Murray hits at least three three-pointers -- Kyle Lowry is the only player with an undefeated team record in such games with more wins (Tor 12-0 in such games).
  5. Charlotte beat Denver at home, 113-107, when these teams met in early December. The Hornets made a season-high 34 free throws in the win -- it was the most in franchise history in a game against Denver.
  6. Charlotte ranks third in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.92 while Denver ranks fifth at 1.91. Denver has gone 11-0 when picking up at least 30 assists, and trails only Golden State (13 games), Boston and Philadelphia (12 each) for most such games this season.

The Charlotte Hornets have plenty to deal with when they play the Western Conference's top team, but other issues could be hanging over the team ahead of Saturday's game at the Denver Nuggets.

Charlotte (18-19) goes to Denver without center Cody Zeller and with trade rumors swirling. The Sporting News reported that league sources said the team is looking to trade center Frank Kaminsky and unload the contracts of Nicolas Batum and Bismack Biyombo.

It's a lot of distraction going into a game against the surging Nuggets. Denver (25-11) is getting healthier and is coming off an impressive 117-113 road win in Sacramento on Thursday after trailing by 15 points in the second half.

Guard Gary Harris and forward Paul Millsap have returned from lengthy injury absences, and guard Will Barton is getting closer to returning. The Nuggets are deep and playing well in the dog days of the NBA schedule, and they are getting plenty of big-time performances.

Center Nikola Jokic had a triple-double in a win over New York on Tuesday, and guard Jamal Murray scored 34 points in the second half against Sacramento. Role players Malik Beasley (a career-high 23 points against the Knicks) and Monte Morris have helped make up for injuries.

Murray has been putting up big numbers despite playing on a sore ankle injured in a win over San Antonio on Dec. 28. He is averaging 30.3 points, 5.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds in the last four games. His performance Thursday had head coach Michael Malone comparing Murray to a superhero.

"Jamal went into the phone booth and came out like Superman in that second half," Malone said.

Denver has won four straight and will try to avenge a 113-107 loss at Charlotte on Dec. 7. The Nuggets are also trying to keep things in perspective despite sitting atop the loaded Western Conference.

"I know people are excited that we're in first place right now, but there's 46 games to go," Malone said after the win over Sacramento. "A lot of basketball."

The afternoon matchup with Charlotte could be a classic trap game for Denver. The Nuggets are 15-3 at home and are playing a team that is 4-11 on the road and without its starting center. Zeller, who started 35 of the first 36 games this season, is out 4-6 weeks after having surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand.

Willy Hernangomez started in place of Zeller against Dallas on Wednesday but had just six points in 18 minutes of the blowout loss.

The Hornets are also without guard Jeremy Lamb, who has been out with a hamstring injury. Rookie Devonte' Graham, a second-round pick from Kansas, started for him against Dallas and scored 10 points in 34 minutes; he could keep starting until Lamb returns.

"He's rarely had a bad stretch of basketball," Charlotte head coach James Borrego said of Graham on Tuesday night. "He's just solid. He makes good plays, winning plays. He makes other players better. There's a confidence about him, a strength about him. I feel very confident with him out there on the floor."

Updated January 4, 2019

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