National Basketball Association
Preview
Charlotte at Denver
When: 9:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 31, 2015
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

The Charlotte Hornets seek to sustain an upward push while the host Denver Nuggets look to halt a bad stretch when the squads meet Saturday. Despite falling 95-86 to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, the Hornets have won nine of their last 12 games as they seek to grab an Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Nuggets are far out of the mix in the West and have lost eight of nine games after taking a 99-69 drubbing from the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

Denver’s showing against the Grizzlies was horrid as it shot 33.3 percent from the field and 2-of-26 from 3-point range while scoring its fewest points since a 93-67 loss to the Spurs on April 14, 2004. “I didn’t feel like we came and competed from the very beginning of the game,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw told reporters. “In these kinds of situations, I’d have more respect if guys just told me that they didn’t feel like playing from the start.” Charlotte is trying to survive without leading scorer Kemba Walker for the next six weeks after he underwent knee surgery on Wednesday.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Charlotte), Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE HORNETS (19-27): Coach Steve Clifford doesn’t want his players feeling sorry for themselves after the loss of Walker, an emerging star. “It’s a conscious decision for all of us,” Clifford told reporters. “We can take the easy way out when we’re playing without him, but obviously, to me, there is a toughness and intelligence about the group of guys that are playing right now that should allow us to win here going forward.” Center Al Jefferson recently returned from a groin injury and he had 17 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against the Spurs.

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (19-28): Denver’s fortunes might not be getting any better as the schedule after Friday’s home game isn’t team-friendly. The Nuggets will open February by playing six of their first seven games on the road, not a pleasant thought with Denver saddled with a 7-16 away mark. Power forward Kenneth Faried is averaging just 5.3 rebounds over the last three games while center Jusuf Nurkic was scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting against Memphis.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Charlotte has won the last three meetings, including a 110-82 victory on Dec. 22.

2. Denver PG Ty Lawson is 5-of-23 from the field over the past two games.

3. Hornets SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has scored in double figures in four of the last five games.

PREDICTION:
Hornets 104, Nuggets 100
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Charlotte 19-27 L1 12-13 7-14 2-1 17-26 4-4 14-12
Denver 19-28 L1 12-12 7-16 0-4 19-24 4-5 12-17
Last Meeting
Charlotte Denver
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/22/14 DEN 82 CHAR 110 110 44 53.8 82 37 37.8
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Charlotte A. Jefferson 22 76.9 2
Denver T. Lawson 18 53.3 0
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Charlotte P. Hairston 10 1 9
Denver K. Faried 9 3 6
Assists Player  
Charlotte K. Walker 9
Denver T. Lawson 4
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Charlotte K. Walker 869 40.3 184
Denver T. Lawson 794 43.5 198
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Charlotte A. Jefferson 357 67 290
Denver K. Faried 420 145 275
Assists Player  
Charlotte K. Walker 253
Denver T. Lawson 484
Quickchart Matchup
Charlotte Off vs  Denver Defense
94.6 Points For
104.0 Points Against
42.2 FG%
45.1 FG%
43.8 Reb
44.2 Reb
Denver Off vs  Charlotte Defense
100.9 Points For
97.4 Points Against
43.5 FG%
44.3 FG%
44.2 Reb
43.3 Reb