Charlotte Hornets get monkey off their back with 4th quarter closeout

Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets finally got on the winning end of a close game when they defeated the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

It’s been an up-and-down season thus far for the Charlotte Hornets. They’ve lost games to poor teams, and they’ve won games against elite teams. They just so happened to knock off the top-seeded Denver Nuggets on Friday night, and the team showed up in the clutch moments.

Fourth quarter play has been a MAJOR concern for the Hornets throughout the first 25 games of the season. They may have been outscored by Denver in the fourth last night, but they came up with stops when they desperately needed them, and the win has got to be a big time confidence boost for this group.

When Nuggets guard Monte Morris hit a three-point shot to cut Charlotte’s lead, which was once at 13 earlier in the fourth quarter, down to three, you could sense the nervousness of the fans in the crowd.

It’s as if we were all just waiting for the team to blow another lead, and lose in heartbreaking fashion. Not trying to be negative, or anything, but it’s hard to trust this team at the moment. However, the Charlotte Hornets came through in the clutch, thanks to some big time plays from Tony Parker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

After that Morris triple, Tony Parker hit a huge pull-up jumper to give Charlotte a five-point lead with 56 seconds of game time left. Then, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist came up with the defensive play of the night, blocking Juan Hernangomez‘s layup attempt.

The Nuggets were then forced to play the foul game for the rest of the way, where the Hornets hit 5-6 from the free-throw line to seal the deal. This was a much more attractive final quarter from the Hornets compared to the quarter they had against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

They were outscored 35-18 in the final period of that game. It was an awful showing both offensively and defensively, and the entire team knew they needed to bounce back and perform better late in the game.

This win over Denver is just one game, and they did let them come back late in the fourth quarter, but it’s a good first step in a process that’s going to take some time. Good teams find a way to close it out in the fourth, and if the Hornets want to take a jump to the next level, they need more of that energy they had in the final minutes against Denver.

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Charlotte will be back in action on Sunday night, taking on the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. We’ll see if the Hornets can carry over that momentum from the win over Denver and come away with a win against a team that they should probably beat.