Kemba Walker scored 21 points and hit four free throws in the final 15 seconds as the Charlotte Hornets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 113-107 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
The Hornets exploded for a 40-point second quarter and led by as many as 16 in the first half, then pulled away in the fourth quarter after the Nuggets got as close as one point late in the third period.
In the process, the Hornets snapped the Nuggets’ seven-game winning streak as Denver entered the contest with the best record in the Western Conference at 17-7.
Walker was just 4 of 11 from the field but was 11 of 12 from the line, as the Hornets were 34 of 38 collectively from the free-throw line.
The Hornets also got 19 points from Tony Parker, 16 from Malik Monk, 14 out of Marvin Williams and 11 from Frank Kaminsky. All but Williams came off the bench. Parker hit two clutch jumpers in the final two minutes to hold the Nuggets at bay. The closest Denver got down the stretch was three points, but Parker hit a jumper to push the lead back up.
Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 20 points. Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Malik Beasley scored 16 each, Juan Hernangomez scored 15, and Monte Morris scored 12.
Denver led 25-24 after one quarter. The Hornets’ 40-point second quarter gave them a 64-53 lead at halftime. The Nuggets got as close as 78-77 in the third but the Hornets again pulled out to an 87-79 lead after three. And then the Hornets played well with the lead in the fourth.
The Nuggets were playing the fourth game of a five-game road trip. They will close out the trip on Saturday at Atlanta.
The Hornets will travel to New York on Sunday.
—Field Level Media