Denver Nuggets vs Charlotte Hornets February 11th, 2023
On the second night of back-to-back games, the Hornets went from attempting to guard Tatum to trying to keep Nikola Jokic in check. What a league. Jokic may have seen Tatum’s performance and took it as a challenge in the MVP race. The Hornets refused to go quietly as just a chapter of Jokic’s latest story.
The Hornets started off the game quickly. Gordon Hayward was on fire in the first quarter, going 6/7 from the field and putting up 13 points. Despite having the league’s most efficient offense, the Nuggets struggled early, getting to a 13-2 deficit early in the contest. Being without Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon clearly affected the Nuggets in the first quarter. In fact, they got down by as much as 15 in the first half.
By the end of the half, they had crawled back into the contest, and they were only down one possession (60-57). The Nuggets came out in the second half and carried the momentum of getting it close to a sizable lead by the end of the third quarter. They were sparked, in part, by Michael Porter Jr’s 14 points—all in the 2nd half. Jokic added 30 points, along with 10 rebounds and 16 assists. It was Jokic’s 20th triple-double of the season.
It’s amazing to see the Hornets have that much of a swing in a single game, from being up 15 to down by 20 in the fourth. In the end, Charlotte couldn’t score with the offensive juggernaut Nuggets. The Hornets could only muster 46 points in the second half that included its fair share of garbage time.