Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/11

Game 1: Tuesday, December 11th
Game 2: Monday, January 7th

Hornets 99


Nuggets 96

(7-14, 5-6 home)

    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, December 11, 2001

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHA 29 24 25 2199
    DEN 28 17 23 2896

    Top Performers

    Cha: P. Brown 18 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Den: R. LaFrentz 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 5 Blk

    Hornets wrap up big trip with victory

    DENVER (AP) -- Lee Nailon stepped in for the injured Jamal Mashburn, and drew praise from Charlotte Hornets coach Paul Silas.

    "I thought it was a real gut check tonight and we came through with flying colors," Silas said after Nailon scored 20 points to lead the Hornets to a 99-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. "You look at Lee Nailon -- his 20 points and 26 minutes were awesome."

    Nailon was playing in place of Mashburn, who is out with a strained abdominal muscle. Mashburn averaged 20 points a game a year ago, but has missed 12 games since going on injured reserve on Nov. 20.

    "I just do what the coach tells me what to do," Nailon said. "They want me to go out there and be aggressive and make plays and rebounds and stay within the system and I have been doing that."

    Elden Campbell scored 16 points, including two late free throws, and had five rebounds before fouling out with 58 seconds left. P.J. Brown added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who last beat the Nuggets on Dec 10, 1999.

    Raef LaFrentz had 23 points and nine rebounds, and James Posey 22 points for Denver which lost its season-high fifth straight game. Nick Van Exel, who has repeatedly demanded a trade the past four days, added 18 points and 15 assists.

    "Just another frustrating loss," said Van Exel, who said he hasn't backed off his stance on a trade demand. "We come out of a timeout and players can't get in the right position."

    Van Exel wasn't the only one angry after the game.

    KUSA-TV in Denver broadcast a videotape of Nuggets coach Dan Issel shouting angrily at a fan. The tape shows Van Exel and another person trying to nudge Issel into a tunnel leading away from the arena floor.

    Van Exel gave the Nuggets a 96-95 lead with 1:46 left with a jumper, but Campbell calmly hit two free throws with 1:31 left to put the Hornets back ahead 97-96. George McCloud missed a layup, but Charlotte was called for a shot clock violation with 23 seconds left.

    Zendon Hamilton missed a 3-pointer, only his 16th shot of the year, with 5.8 seconds left, and Jamaal Magloire sealed the win for the Hornets with a dunk.

    "We were going to run a high pick-and-roll with Nick getting the ball and either Raef or George popping open for a shot," Issel said. "Only Zendon popped open and didn't make it."

    Voshon Lenard scored seven points, including a 3-pointer nearly 5 minutes into the fourth quarter for Denver to cut the Charlotte lead to 84-81. David Wesley's layup off a steal and a dunk by Brown kept the Hornets' lead at 91-87, but McCloud answered with a jumper to make it a two-point game.

    After baskets in the paint by Nailon and Campbell, Lenard hit an off-balance shot and a 3-pointer getting Denver within one at 95-94.

    Denver opened the second half with a 23-9 run, 13 provided by Posey to take a 66-64 lead. Posey, who had 13 points in the third quarter, converted a layup off a pass from Van Exel to tie it, and LaFrentz's follow with 4:01 gave the Nuggets the 66-64 lead.

    Matt Bullard started a 14-2 run with a jump shot and finished it with a 3-pointer to close the quarter as the Hornets took a 78-68 lead into the fourth quarter.

    Baron Davis hit a free throw and 3-pointer in the last minute to give the Hornets a 53-45 lead at the half. Charlotte led by as much as 42-32 only to have LaFrentz's tip get the Nuggets as close as 46-43.

    LaFrentz hit his first five shots and scored 17 of Denver's first quarter points, but Charlotte led 29-28.

    Game notes
    Magloire and Hamilton had to be separated after exchanging elbows in the first quarter. ... The Hornets completed their six-game road trip 3-3. ... Charlotte's bench was outscored 29-25 and has been outscored 453-265 over its last 14 games. ... LaFrentz moved into seventh place on the Nuggets' career blocked shots list with 468. The Nuggets have hit at least one 3-pointer in 215 straight games. ... The Nuggets failed to score 100 points for the 11th straight game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 96
    FGM-FGA 39-86 (.453) 36-88 (.409)
    3PM-3PA 3-8 (.375) 8-21 (.381)
    FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 16-20 (.800)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-44 18-48
    Assists 27 27
    Turnovers 10 15
    Steals 7 2
    Blocks 8 9
    Fast Break Points 15 20
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (2/0) 22 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    P.J. Brown Brown
    Points: 18
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Raef LaFrentz LaFrentz
    Points: 23
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 5