NBA: Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic stings Hornets again
Denver’s Nikola Jokic turned in a triple-double with 30 points in another big game against the Charlotte Hornets as the visiting Nuggets won 119-105 on Saturday night.
Jokic shot 11-for-22 from the field, collected 16 rebounds and distributed 10 assists. He also blocked two shots.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope poured in 15 points, Michael Porter Jr. and Bruce Brown had 14 apiece and Vlatko Cancar added 12 points for the Nuggets.
Nikola Jokic records his 20th triple-double of the season. pic.twitter.com/Ts85t8pwEq
— NBA (@NBA) February 12, 2023
The Hornets’ losing streak reached seven games despite LaMelo Ball coming within a rebound of a triple-double. He finished with 18 points and 12 assists.
P.J. Washington had 22 points, Gordon Hayward scored 21 points, Dennis Smith Jr. came off the bench for 15 points and Terry Rozier finished with 12.
Charlotte managed just 8-for-32 shooting from 3-point range, while the Nuggets were only 5-for-23 from deep, but they shot 50.5 percent overall from the field.
Denver’s dominance in the lane was also evident from a 51-37 rebounding edge as the Hornets played their second game since trading center Mason Plumlee to the Los Angeles Clippers. Rookie center Mark Williams made his first start in a home game and managed only six points and five rebounds in 21 minutes.
Jokic, who pulled in seven offensive rebounds, scored 40 points in a mid-December home victory against the Hornets.
This time, the Nuggets used a huge third quarter to forge a split of the first two games of a three-game road trip. Denver outscored Charlotte 37-23 in the third, with Jokic scoring 10 points, Porter nine and Caldwell-Pope seven.
The Hornets, who used nine players in the game, didn’t put up much of a threat in the fourth quarter. Smith scored six points in a 74-second span to close within 102-92, but DeAndre Jordan’s second dunk in as many possessions pretty much doused Charlotte’s momentum.
Charlotte was hurt by shooting just 58.6 percent (17-for-29) on free throws.
Jokic scored 20 first-half points, but the Hornets led 60-57 at the break behind Hayward’s 17 points.