Nuggets Drill Hornets
The Hive was rocking early, but the Nuggets were lethal from beyond the arc, drilling 17 three-pointers before the final buzzer. As a result, Denver’s 114-103 win over the Hornets kept them in 5th place in the Western Conference standings, one spot ahead of New Orleans. Here is more from the AP and espn.com.
Chris Paul had 27 points, 10 assists and seven steals for the Hornets, while Willie Green scored 18 points.
The Hornets, a team built around defense that came in allowing 92.7 points per game, had not given up 114 points in a game all season, the most previously being 113 in a loss at Minnesota on Dec. 27.
The defense that Kenyon Martin played against David West made it even harder for the Hornets to keep pace. West, who averages nearly 19 points per game, was held to only six points on 2 of 9 shooting in a little more than 31 minutes and did not play in the fourth quarter.
“We just wanted to be aware of his touches, and Kenyon does a good job of stopping him in post-ups,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “We made some good reads rotating to him, making sure him and Paul didn’t have a good two-man game.”
Karl made a key lineup change early in the first quarter when his team was down double digits. He inserted Raymond Felton, a point guard, into the two guard spot, playing alongside starting PG Ty Lawson. The two were able to penetrate into the lane and kick it out three point shooters. The long ball killed the Hornets on Monday night.
“When you see that ball go through the hole 17 times from the 3, it tends to mess with your psyche a little bit. It was just one of those games that you have in the NBA where a team comes out and they just shoot the ball better than you’ve ever seen them before,” explained head coach Monty Williams.
Denver simply could not miss. The Hornets, who own the Western Conference’s number one ranked defense, give up less than 93 points a game. Last night, the Nuggets had 94 after three quarters. As discourging as the loss can be, it wasn’t as if New Orleans had a lack of effort.
“Our guys fought tonight,” added Williams. ”We just didn’t have enough to overcome that many 3s.”