Charlotte Hornets

With Tony Parker controlling things down stretch, Hornets top Nuggets

Marvin Williams on his arm going numb Sunday

Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams’ right shoulder injury Sunday initially left his arm and hand numb.
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Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams’ right shoulder injury Sunday initially left his arm and hand numb.

Tony Parker has said for weeks he’s tired of the Charlotte Hornets losing close ones. Friday night, he was big in changing that pattern.

Parker came off the bench to score 19 points, pushing the Hornets to a 113-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets at Spectrum Center. This came on a night when starting point guard Kemba Walker struggled with his shot, making 4-of-11 from the field.

Tony Parker vs Nuggets.JPG
Charlotte Hornets’ Tony Parker, center, drives past Denver Nuggets’ Malik Beasley, left, in the first half of Friday’s NBA game at Spectrum Center. Parker came off the bench to score 19 points and added four assists. Chuck Burton AP

The Nuggets entered this game with the best record in the Western Conference at 17-7. The Hornets (12-13) broke a three-game losing streak, their longest of the season.

Nuggets guard Monte Morris hit a pull-up 3-pointer with 1 minute, 13 seconds left to cut the Hornets lead to three, after Hornets center Cody Zeller’s left-handed layup attempt fell off the rim.

Parker responded with a 10-foot pull-up to push the lead back to five with just under a minute remaining.

Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made a big block from behind Nuggets forward Juan Hernangomez’s shot at the rim late.

Walker finished with 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray scored 20.

Three who mattered

Marvin Williams: That he even played, considering Sunday’s injury (shoulder), was remarkable.

Juan Hernangomez: He had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Malik Monk: Hornets reserve guard (16 points) seems to be breaking out of a shooting slump.

Observations

▪ The Hornets got a surprising boost Friday when Williams was cleared to play following Sunday’s right shoulder strain. The Hornets projected Monday that Williams would miss at least a week with the injury, but his recovery was rapid.

▪ Nuggets coach Mike Malone said pre-game he’s been so impressed with Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb that he could be in the discussion for Most Improved Player.

▪ Williams showed quickly his shoulder wasn’t disrupting his shot, hitting two 3s in the first half.

▪ Monk reached double-figures scoring for the second consecutive game, after reaching 10 points Wednesday in Minneapolis. In his previous four games, Monk totaled 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting from the field.

▪ Parker looked 26, rather than 36, on a spinning drive to the rim in the first half.

Worth mentioning

▪ The Hornets went into Friday having been charged with nine technical fouls this season to opponents’ four. Walker has the most with three. That’s a lot less than last season, when now-departed center Dwight Howard was among the NBA leaders in techs..

▪ Center Bismack Biyombo was the Hornets’ inactive player Friday.

▪ Hornets forward Nic Batum had foul trouble almost from the start of this game.

They said it

“I’m really surprised. It looked like it could have been a really severe injury when you watched the play. It looked like it could have really gone South.” – Hornets coach James Borrego on Williams’ surprisingly quick recovery.

“I told Kemba I couldn’t feel my arm. I’d never felt that before. And I couldn’t move my hand.” – Williams Friday morning, recalling initial scare his shoulder injury represented.

“You’ve got to give a lot of respect to a guy like Tony Parker. Here’s a guy who never seems to age.” – Nuggets coach Mike Malone on veteran point guard Parker.

Report card

C OFFENSE: Second half was a struggle, and not necessarily because of Nuggets’ defense.

B+ DEFENSE: Did a good job of making Nuggets center Nilola Jokic work for his shots, after rough games against Western Conference big men Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns

B+ COACHING: Made some progress with the defense, which has been roughed up of late.

HORNETS 113, NUGGETS 107

Denver

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

J.Hernangomez

36:30

6-9

2-3

10

2

15

Millsap

18:47

4-8

8-9

3

4

16

Jokic

33:22

6-18

4-5

11

5

16

Craig

18:30

0-5

0-0

4

6

0

Murray

36:42

8-20

4-5

5

4

20

Beasley

32:47

5-13

2-2

7

2

16

Morris

24:30

5-12

0-0

3

0

12

Plumlee

20:09

3-5

1-2

7

5

7

Lyles

18:43

2-11

0-0

5

0

5

Totals

240:00

39-101

21-26

55

28

107

Percentages: FG .386, FT .808. 3-Point Goals: 8-35, .229 (Beasley 4-10, Morris 2-4, J.Hernangomez 1-3, Lyles 1-5, Millsap 0-1, Craig 0-2, Murray 0-4, Jokic 0-6). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 9 (12 PTS). Blocked Shots: 12 (Lyles 3, J.Hernangomez 2, Jokic 2, Millsap 2, Plumlee 2, Morris). Turnovers: 9 (Jokic 4, Beasley, Lyles, Millsap, Murray, Plumlee). Steals: 6 (Murray 2, J.Hernangomez, Jokic, Lyles, Millsap).

Charlotte

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Batum

26:26

0-4

4-4

7

4

4

Williams

32:36

4-12

3-4

10

1

14

Zeller

31:33

2-7

4-4

4

5

8

Lamb

20:33

3-7

0-0

4

2

7

Walker

36:21

4-11

11-12

6

2

21

Parker

22:23

6-14

6-8

4

0

19

Monk

22:01

5-12

3-3

0

2

16

Kaminsky

16:27

4-8

1-1

6

1

11

Bridges

16:13

3-7

0-0

2

0

7

Kidd-Gilchrist

15:27

2-4

2-2

5

3

6

Totals

240:00

33-86

34-38

48

20

113

Percentages: FG .384, FT .895. 3-Point Goals: 13-35, .371 (Williams 3-7, Monk 3-8, Kaminsky 2-4, Walker 2-8, Parker 1-2, Bridges 1-3, Lamb 1-3). Team Rebounds: 12. Team Turnovers: 9 (10 PTS). Blocked Shots: 9 (Bridges 2, Batum, Kaminsky, Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk, Parker, Walker, Zeller). Turnovers: 9 (Walker 5, Batum, Parker, Williams, Zeller). Steals: 8 (Parker 2, Zeller 2, Bridges, Lamb, Walker, Williams).

Denver

25

28

26

28

107

Charlotte

24

40

23

26

113

Att.—13,755 (19,077). T—2:18.

Officials—Ken Mauer, Marat Kogut, Leroy Richardson

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

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