Charlotte Hornets head out West to take on the Denver Nuggets

Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Lamb. (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Lamb. (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Coming off arguably their worst loss of the season, the Charlotte Hornets travel westward for a six-game road stint. How will they fare against some of the better teams in the West?

It’s not easy winning away from home in the NBA. Even worse when it’s on the heels of your worst loss of the season. Sadly, that’s where the Charlotte Hornets (18-19) find themselves going into a nearly two week set of road games.

They certainly could have used some momentum, but instead, they’ll go limping into their second matchup against the Denver Nuggets (25-11). If you’ll remember, the Hornets actually defeated the West-leading Nuggets in Charlotte back on December 7th. Charlotte played outstanding perimeter defense in that game, holding Denver to 23% shooting from behind the arc.

They’ll need to do that again and more against a Nuggets team that sports a 15-3 home record. Combine that with a 4-11 road record for the Hornets, and there is reason to worry about this one. Still, anything can and will happen.

Charlotte’s last game was a very ugly loss at home to the Dallas Mavericks, with the final score being 84-122. They are currently 7th in the Eastern Conference. Denver’s last contest was a 117-113 win over the Sacramento Kings. They are 1st in the West. This is the second of two games against the Nuggets this season.

Charlotte Hornets at Denver Nuggets
5:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, January 5th, 2019
Pepsi Center
Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report:


Cody Zeller – Hand (Out)

Jeremy Lamb – Hamstring (Game-Time Decision)


Will Barton – Groin (Out)

Jarred Vanderbilt – Foot (Out)

Isaiah Thomas – Hip (Out)

Michael Porter Jr. – Back (Out)

Things to watch for:

Cody is an obvious scratch, but it’ll be interesting to see if Lamb can play. If not, will Devonte Graham get another start? In their last three losses, the Hornets allowed teams to shoot an average of 49% from the field.

Denver is not an outstanding shooting team, sitting at 12th in the league in field goal percentage, but they’re at home and Charlotte has certainly let poor shooting teams go off. Something else to note is Denver’s elevation and its effects on visiting teams who aren’t used to it. Charlotte could get winded easily if the Nuggets manage to run an up-tempo type of offense.

Keys to the game:

You wouldn’t know by their last game where they went 6-32 from deep, but Charlotte still ranks in the top ten in terms of three-point field goal percentage. They’ll need to get back shooting it well from three to have a shot in this one given that Denver is second in the NBA in opponent three-point percentage.

They’ll also need their captain, Kemba Walker, to get back to his usual self. He led the team in scoring last game, but only had 11 points on 4-14 shooting, including 0-5 from deep.

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The Hornets are entering a tough road stretch, and if they don’t come out of it with at least three wins, they could be behind the playoff curve heading into crunch time. We’ll see if they can start it off right with a win Saturday evening in Denver.