The New Orleans Hornets stopped the Denver Nuggets short Monday night, 110-86, snapping the visitors’ 15-game winning streak with a suffocating defense and a torrent of three-point shots.
New Orleans, who entered tonight’s game eleventh in the NBA in three-point scoring, connected on 14 shots from downtown on 56% shooting from three-point land, and were 48.2% from the field overall. Ryan Anderson scored 15 of his 23 points off of threes, and both Darius Miller and Roger Mason landed four-of-five at distance.
The Hornets snagged eight steals, blocked 12 shots and captured 28 defensive rebounds. They also converted 14 Nuggets 14 turnovers into 22 points, holding them to 31.3% shooting from the field.
The Hornets were led by rookie point guard Brian Roberts, who scored 13 points and passed out a career high 18 assists, his first career double-double. This was Roberts’ second career start, with Greivis Vasquez out with a sprained left ankle. He is only the twentieth rookie ever to record 18 or more assists in a game.
“Was was really aware of the guys being open tonight,” said Hornets head coach Monty Williams when asked to comment on Roberts after the game. “It doesn’t happen if he doesn’t work hard, and he works his tail off. Bottom line, he’s got a few hours to enjoy this before getting ready for the next one.”
The Hornets took the lead in the first quarter with a three-pointer by Miller and never looked back. They outscored the Nuggets 27-18 by the end of the first period. The Denver offense was unable to build any tempo, and star shooting-guard Andre Iguodala was scoreless until almost halftime. He went into the break with only three points, and the Hornets led 59-38.
The Nuggets rallied slightly in the third quarter, outscoring their opponents 30-27. Denver found success at the charity stripe, sinking 11 of 14 attempts — they were 31-for-39 for the game from the line. Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari scored 10 of his 24 points at the line, sinking eight free throws in the third quarter alone.
The Hornets were 14-for-15 from the line tonight.
“We need to move on to the next game,” said Nuggets guard Andre Miller. “We played a bad game and they played a great game. They kept us out of the paint. We were not able to get into a rhythm. We were constantly taking the ball from under the basket and we tried to execute, and we just didn’t do that.”
New Orleans led 86-68 going into the final period, and slowly extended their lead to 24 points before wrapping it up to a crowd cheering for their hometown team and the free French fries.
The Hornets (25-46) have won their last three games, all against teams in playoff contention. They will host the Los Angeles Clippers (48-22) on Wednesday before facing the scorching Miami Heat (56-14) on Friday. The Heat have won 27 games in a row, the second-longest winning streak in NBA history behind the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.