Preview: Charlotte At Denver
When: 8:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 10, 2016
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
Two teams struggling to stay on the edge of the playoff chase after rough stretches meet when the Denver Nuggets host the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Denver begins a season-high eight-game homestand after losing 10 of its previous 12 contests while the Hornets have dropped six in a row, including a 97-83 setback at the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
Charlotte allowed 111.4 points per game during the first five games of its losing streak and was a bit better in the defensive end Saturday, but leading scorer Kemba Walker suffered through a 4-for-16 shooting day. The Hornets are without inside force Al Jefferson (knee) for approximately six more weeks while guard Nicolas Batum has missed four contests with a toe injury and is questionable for Sunday. The Nuggets hope to improve their play at home where they are 5-11, including four straight losses. Denver’s leading scorer Danilo Gallinari has been hot of late, averaging 25.5 points and 6.5 rebounds over his past four games.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), Altitude2 (Denver)
ABOUT THE HORNETS (17-19): With Walker struggling, fellow guard Jeremy Lin scored 26 points – his second-highest output of the season – Saturday in Los Angeles. Guard Jeremy Lamb also came off the bench to record 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds to make up for the absence of Batum, who contributes 16.3 points and a team-best 5.2 assists per game. Rookie first-round pick Frank Kaminsky has struggled in the last four games, making only seven of his 32 attempts from the field.
ABOUT THE NUGGETS (13-24): While Gallinari is on a nice run, second-leading scorer Will Barton (15.9) has cooled off the last three games while averaging only six points and making 7-of-27 from the field. Rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (ankle) is still out while leading rebounder Kenneth Faried (12.3 points, 8.9 boards) might miss his second straight game due to the birth of his child. Denver could also be without veteran point guard Jameer Nelson, who is suffering from a hip flexor strain.
1. Charlotte C Cody Zeller has reached double figures in rebounds three straight games and is averaging 11 points and nine boards the past seven contests.
2. Denver G Randy Foye has totaled 38 points in eight contests since scoring 31 against Phoenix in a victory on Dec. 23.
3. The Hornets have won the last four meetings, giving up an average of 91 points.
PREDICTION: Hornets 95, Nuggets 91