Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets fall at home to lottery-bound Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) shoots against Charlotte Hornets' Courtney Lee (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 19, 2016.
Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) shoots against Charlotte Hornets' Courtney Lee (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 19, 2016. AP

Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris grabbed in an offensive rebound with 25 seconds left to preserve his team’s possession and maintain the lead for a 101-93 victory over the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Nic Batum trimmed what had been a 22-point deficit to seven with 4 1/2 minutes left on a corner 2-pointer and a 3-pointer off an assist from Kemba Walker.

The Hornets caught a break in the fourth quarter when Nuggets center Nikola Jokic fouled out. He finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

The Hornets fell to 39-30, while the Nuggets improved to 29-41.

Three who mattered

Batum: He flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

Jokic: The Nuggets center had a double-double and effectively guarded the rim until fouling out.

D.J. Augustin: He sure does relish playing against his first NBA team. He finished with 24 points.

Observations

▪  The Hornets got back reserve center Spencer Hawes, who had missed the previous 15 games with a sore lower back.

▪  Cody Zeller, who missed the second half in Miami Thursday with a left knee bruise, was able to play and start Saturday.

▪  The Nuggets sat star forward Kenneth Faried, who has a sore back.

▪  Monday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, one of just four home games remaining, will be on NBA TV.

▪  Zeller drew huge applause in the first half after blocking three shots in one Nuggets possession. He had a career-best five blocks.

Worth mentioning

▪  Davidson coach Bob McKillop attended Saturday’s game.

▪  The Hornets made only three of 12 3-point attempts in the first half.

▪  Saturday’s 6 p.m. tip-off was at the NBA’s request to accommodate an international broadcast of the game.

They said it

“I didn’t know we were going to win (in Miami), but I knew we were going to fight for the win. But tonight we didn’t have that.” – Clifford.

“We just had bad energy. We didn’t play a consistent game at all.” – Walker.

“Man I don’t care about that. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here. That doesn’t bother me at all.” – Augustin on being booed.

Report card

C- OFFENSE: Far too much settling for guarded jump shots.

C DEFENSE: They gave up a lot of points in the lane.

C COACHING: Losing at home to a sub-.500 team negated the momentum of winning in Miami Thursday.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

 
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