Hornets 110, Nuggets 86

Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Ryan Anderson scored 23 points and Brian Roberts, making his second NBA start, had 13 points and 18 assists as the New Orleans Hornets snapped the Denver Nuggets' 15-game winning streak with a 110-86 victory on Monday night.
Winning their third consecutive game against a top playoff contender, the Hornets (25-46) poured in 14 3-pointers on 25 attempts -- with Anderson accounting for five -- to foil Denver's attempt at breaking its franchise record for consecutive wins.
The Hornets led by as many as 23 points early in the second half. The Nuggets (49-23) pulled to 96-84 with 6:07 left but could get no closer. Denver last lost on Feb. 22, falling 119-113 on the road to the Washington Wizards.
Roberts started at point guard for Greivis Vasquez, who tweaked an ankle injury in practice on Sunday and could not play. The rookie had only three turnovers in 41 minutes. The Hornets had 30 assists on 41 field goals.
The Nuggets, who empited their bench in the final three minutes, were paced by Danilo Gallinari's 23 points. But only two other Nuggets scored in double figures -- Kenneth Faried with 13 and Wilson Chandler with 11.
The Hornets put three other players in double figures, including Darius Miller with 16, Anthony Davis with 14 and Al-Farouq Aminu with 13.
New Orleans came out sizzling from the perimeter, making 7 of 9 3-point shots in the first half to take a 59-38 lead.
Anderson was the catalyst, going 4 of 5 behind the arc, most of them on wide-open looks, en route to 16 first-half points.
Roberts had 11 assists in the first half; the Hornets had 18 assists on 23 field goals.
New Orleans also outrebounded the normally stout Denver front line 23-14 in the opening half. Denver entered the game third in the NBA in rebounding margin.
The Nuggets couldn't buy a basket in the first half. They shot just 33 percent from the field (11 of 33) and committed 10 first-half turnovers. Gallinari led Denver with 10 first-half points but was the only starter with more than one field goal.
NOTES: Denver point guard Ty Lawson missed his third consecutive game with a right heel strain, but forward Wilson Chandler returned from a separated left shoulder. ... After losing an NCAA Tournament bet to assistant coach Chad Iske, a Kansas alum, Nuggets coach George Karl, a North Carolina grad, donned a Kansas warm-up jacket before the game. ... The Hornets played without their starting backcourt. Vasquez missed his first game as a Hornet after tweaking an ankle in practice on Sunday and Eric Gordon was held out with an ankle injury. Hornets coach Monty Williams said Vasquez tried to plead his case, but to no avail. "I just squashed it right away," Williams said. "Greivis is a warrior. If he says he's hurting, I know he's hurting badly. I have to be the brains for guys at times."... Williams said the Nuggets remind him of the Seattle teams that Karl once coached. "I just think of transition," he said. "They can shoot the ball. They can attack the basket in the half-court. They have two starting point guards. They have a number of slashers who can also shoot the ball. Their bench is solid. They defend." ... Karl said the Nuggets' impressive winning streak has proved his team is mentally tough. "Being on a streak is not as easy as you think," Karl said. "There's a little more stress, a little more worrying and nervousness. But the confidence that comes with it, the young guys growing up, the cohesiveness and the defensive mentality (are good). ... I think it's a trait of a good team when you don't play well and you win."

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