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Nikola Jokic scored 26 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists in his 19th triple-double of the season, and Denver Nuggets held on to beat Charlotte Hornets 113-109 Monday night.

Aaron Gordon added 21 points, and Will Barton scored 18 in the Nuggets, who earned a division of the season series.

Miles Bridges scored 27 points and 11 rebounds, while LaMella Ball added 22 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds for Charlotte, who dropped to 1-13 on the second night of the confrontation. The defeat dropped the Hornets to ninth place in the Eastern Conference, lagging behind the idle Brooklyn Nets in the half.

The Nuggets are now in sixth place in the Western Conference, so it is likely that they will not host the playoff series.

But this season Denver has won a record 23 away games in the franchise, so Jokic doesn’t seem so worried.


Denver Nugget center Nikola Jokic (15) goes to the basket against central Charlotte Hornets Mason Plumley (right) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Monday, March 28, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
(AP Photo / Rusty Jones)

“It just seems like we were good on the road,” Jokic said, without explaining why.

Denver led 83-74 in the fourth quarter and quickly increased the score to 13 points. The Hornets rallied, battling to reduce the lead to one with a score of 4:07, remaining behind three-pointers Isaiah Thomas, Bridges and Ball and throwing Bridges.

The “Hornets” had several chances to equalize, but the throws simply did not go.

Monte Morris increased the Nuggets by five with two free throws in 38.8 seconds before Terry Rozier responded 3.

Jokic missed the jump on Denver’s next possession when the clock shot went off, but got his own rebound from the inverted ball and was a hard foul 8.6 seconds before the end. He made both shots to make the game with two possessions, and took away the Hornets.

It was the Nuggets’ 17th offensive pick – and Jokic’s fifth. Denver finished with 32 second chance points.

The Nuggets had a 51-40 lead overall.

“Sometimes you do it right, and it just works,” said Hornet coach James Barrego. “I don’t have the answers right now, but I know we need to be more physical and just go get them.”

Barrego said one of the things he will be studying this offseason is finding ways to get better on each other’s second night.

At this point, Bridges said it was time for the Hornets to continue fighting for the crop.

“We’re a young team and it’s time to push the playoffs, so we really don’t have time for fatigue,” Bridges said.


Montres Harel and Gordon exchanged words and a few light jolts at the end of the third quarter, as a result of which Harel received two technical fouls and was withdrawn from the game.

Gordon received one technical foul but remained in the game.

It all started when Harrell seemed to step over Austin Rivers, who was on the ground after a shot to the head, and then pushed Gordon with one hand, causing a push back. Then they had to be separated by teammates, and after a long delay Harel was taken out.

Rivers remained in the game but was spotted leaving the arena with an ice pack on his head.


Gordon set the tone for the Nuggets early, scoring 17 points in the first quarter – most of them attacking the rim.

“We talked to him this afternoon, just talking to him, saying, ‘The way you’re playing now, the guy guarding you is saying,’ How am I going to stop this guy? ‘” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “If you agree to throw in the jump, if you agree to 3, the same guy says, ‘Oh, thank God, this guy doesn’t lower his head and (goes) to the rim.’


Nuggets: Morris scored 14 points and nine assists.

Hornets: Gave 33 assists. … Bridges and Terry Rosie have combined 4 of 17 from the 3-point range.


Nuggets: The Pelicans on Wednesday night.

Hornets: In the Knicks on Wednesday night.

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