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April 4, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Denver Nuggets shooting guard Arron Afflalo (6) shoots over New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman (35) during the second half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets defeated the Nuggets 94-92. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Nuggets Get Stung In New Orleans

Will the real Denver Nuggets please stand up?

Did the Nuggets overachieve when they beat the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls on the road? Or did they underachieve when they lost to the New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors on the road? That is a perplexing question, one that may not be completely answered this season.

After beating the Orlando Magic on Sunday and with two days of rest the Nuggets should just breeze to an easy win against the lowly Hornets. However, with a young squad, there will be growing pains – especially when a team like New Orleans gets two of their better players (Eric Gordon and Carl Landry) back from injuries. 

The Hornets, like many Denver opponents, got hot early and often and finished the game hitting .522 percent from the field and hitting 5 of 10 from behind the arc. There wasn’t just one player that killed the Nuggets, but six. All five of New Orleans’ starters scored in double-figures, with Greivis Vasquez and Chris Kaman leading the way. Jarrett Jack missed the game due to an injury and so Vasquez was thrown into the starting point guard role and had 11 points and 10 assists.  Kaman, who will be a free agent this offseason, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. He also had a big putback that gave the Hornets a 5-point lead with 30 seconds left.

The Nuggets did show some heart late, Ty Lawson scored a layup and Al Harrington hit his only trey late to tie the game. However, Eric Gordon hit a pair of free throws to seal the game.

  • Andre Miller was ejected at the start of the fourth quarter after getting a Flagrant 2 Foul for bodying Landry. Of course in the Thunder game, Russell Westbrook received a Flagrant 1 for running down and tackling LeBron James on a fastbreak basket. Miller finished the game with six points and five rebounds.
  • Corey Brewer brought back memories of Anthony Carter when he threw away the inbound pass in the closing seconds of the game. Of course, to Brewer’s credit the Nuggets looked confused on the play and there was only two seconds left in the game. It was a bad game for Brewer, who missed all seven of his shots and has been struggling with his outside shot but the guy plays with so much passion it’s hard to fault him.
  • Jordan Hamilton stepped in when Miller was ejected and was impressive in short minutes. The rookie had a great move to the basket and scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds.
  • While the rest of the Nuggets were stagnant to start the game, Kosta Koufos took advantage of his size and spacing to score five of Denver’s first seven points.

The Nuggets loss hurts, but it helped (kind of) that the Phoenix Suns beat the Utah Jazz. The Nuggets are a game up on the Suns and a 1 1/2 on the Jazz, which makes Friday’s game against the Suns all that more important.

 

Tags: Al Harrington Andre Miller Anthony Carter Carl Landry Chicago Bulls Chris Kaman Corey Brewer Denver Nuggets Eric Gordon Greivis Vasquez Jarrett Jack Jordan Hamilton Kenneth Faried Kosta Koufos LeBron James New Orleans Hornets Orlando Magic Philadelphia 76ers Phoenix Suns Russell Westbrook San Antonio Spurs Toronto Raptors Ty Lawson Utah Jazz

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