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Hornets escape 19-point hole, top Nuggets

Sportsnaut
Dec 23, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball as Charlotte Hornets center Mason Plumlee (24) guards in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 23, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball as Charlotte Hornets center Mason Plumlee (24) guards in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the visiting Charlotte Hornets came from behind to beat the Denver Nuggets 115-107 on Thursday night.

Terry Rozier scored 17 and Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball each had 16 points for the Hornets, who rallied from a 19-point, third-quarter deficit to break a three-game losing streak. P.J. Washington scored 13 and Jalen McDaniels had 12.

Nikola Jokic had 29 points and a season-high 21 rebounds, Facundo Campazzo scored 12 and Jeff Green, Vlatko Cancar, Will Barton and Austin Rivers had 11 each for Denver, which was outscored 38-13 in the fourth quarter.

The Nuggets looked to be in control after three quarters, up by 17 points, but Charlotte dominated the fourth.

Oubre hit a 3-pointer, added a four-point play and then completed a three-point play to get Charlotte within 96-87. After Jokic hit a floating jumper with 7:47 to go in the period, the Hornets went on a 10-1 run to tie it at 99.

Campazzo sank two free throws, but a bucket by Oubre and a 3-pointer from Washington gave Charlotte a 104-101 lead with 3:16 left.

The Nuggets tied it at 105 on Green’s tip-in, but Washington hit another 3-pointer to put the Hornets ahead 108-105 with 1:20 left.

Ish Smith sealed it with a corner 3-pointer with 39.1 seconds left.

Charlotte started the night strong and led 20-9 before Denver closed within 27-26 at the end of the first quarter.

The Nuggets turned things around in the second. Trailing 43-40 midway through, they stormed ahead on three straight baskets by Green. Jokic scored the next six Denver points, and Campazzo and Monte Morris had 3-pointers in a 19-2 run.

Campazzo hit another 3-pointer, and Denver led 65-52 at intermission.

Charlotte tried to climb back in the third quarter. Rozier hit a 3-pointer and Ball made a layup and a 12-footer to cut the deficit to 71-61. The Nuggets responded with a layup from Jokic and five straight points by Barton to make it 78-61.

Denver increased the lead to 94-77 heading into the fourth.

–Field Level Media