Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Wednesday’s road game vs. Denver Nuggets

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Wednesday’s 129-104 Hornets’ road loss to the Denver Nuggets that dropped Charlotte to 20-19 overall:

… Charlotte entered with a four-game winning streak that had them in fifth place of the Eastern Conference. But after taking a 15-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, Denver (24-16) pretty much had its way with the Hornets – and the result was the team’s largest defeat margin of the season. “They bullied us and we let it happen,” Charlotte guard Malik Monk said.

… The team’s only other loss by 20 or more points this season also came on the first game of a West Coast road trip when Utah beat Charlotte 132-110 on Feb. 22. The good news on that trip was the Hornets won three of the next five games on the trip. “That’s the beauty of this league,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “You get to correct your errors and get ready for another game, which for us will be a game tomorrow night against a really tough opponent.”

… Terry Rozier had 21 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead the Hornets. Monk added 16 points and LaMelo Ball 14. Michael Porter, Jr., had a game-high 28 points for the Nuggets. Will Barton added 23 and Jamal Murray 19 on a night in which Denver hit 57.8 percent of its field goal attempts.

… Denver scored 26 in the first quarter, 31 in the second, 38 in the third and 34 in the fourth. “No excuses,” Borrego said. “We’ve got to be better defensively.”

… It marks the second straight game Charlotte has trailed after each of the first three quarters. “We’ve got to be more physical,” Hornets forward Gordon Hayward said. “For whatever reason, we weren’t tonight.”

… The loss dropped Charlotte to 9-10 against the Western Conference this season. The Hornets’ last winning record against the Western Conference came in the 2009-10 season when they went 17-13.

… Charlotte now has an all-time 88-186 record on West Coast road trips and haven’t had a winning record in a single season but once (1992-93). The last .500 West Coast record was 5-5 in the 1997-98 season.

What’s next: Charlotte continues the five-game, eight-day Western road trip at the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. The trip will continue Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers at 10 p.m., Monday at San Antonio at 8:30 p.m. and next Wednesday at Houston at 8 p.m.