The Denver Nuggets aim to win for the 14th time in the past 18 games when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. Denver experienced recent slip-ups against the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers but put together a strong effort in Sunday's 114-104 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The loss to the Cavaliers occurred on Saturday on the front side of a home back-to-back as Denver appeared to take the club lightly while falling 111-103 before rebounding versus the Clippers. "We looked like a totally different team less than 24 hours later," backup point guard Monte Morris told reporters. "We have to come to play against teams we're supposed to beat, because we always show up against teams we know that can beat us." Charlotte has lost five straight games and 11 of its past 13 after suffering a 115-112 road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. "We keep putting ourselves in positions to win games. It's great for our growth," Hornets coach James Borrego told reporters after the setback. "It's stressful, it hurts and it should hurt. This is only going to make us tougher and more resilient. Our guys are growing in these moments."
TIME: 9 p.m. ET. TV: FS Southeast, Altitude
ABOUT THE HORNETS (15-28): The backcourt of Devonte' Graham (27 points, eight 3-pointers) and Terry Rozier (25 points, four treys) had strong performances against Portland while forward PJ Washington added 20 points and 11 rebounds. Charlotte dug itself a hole as it trailed 62-46 at halftime before exploding for 43 points in the third quarter and was in the game at the finish before falling. "The locker room is frustrated and that's competition right there," Borrego said. "We all want to win. We all want it now, but there's steps to winning. We're knocking on the door right now with a ton of young guys. It's just a lot of great growth for us. Nobody's hanging their head. We'll move onto the next game, but we'll learn from this and get better."
ABOUT THE NUGGETS (27-12): Star center Nikola Jokic had 20 points, 15 rebounds and six assists against Los Angeles and scored at least 20 in eight of the past 11 contests. Rookie forward Michael Porter Jr. had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting after averaging just 3.3 points over the previous four games. "Michael has that kind of ability," Denver coach Michael Malone told reporters. "I think he settled down, we ran a couple of plays for him, he finished, shot the ball well and rebounded. He's only going to get better and I've got to let him play through some mistakes."
1. The Hornets won eight of the past 12 meetings.
2. Denver PF Paul Millsap (knee) will likely miss his fourth straight game.
3. Charlotte reserve SG Dwayne Bacon scored six points on 2-of-7 shooting against Portland after scoring 24 on 10-of-15 shooting one night earlier against the Phoenix Suns.