DENVER (AP) – The Denver Nuggets went into halftime knowing they had an opportunity to put the New Orleans Hornets away with a quick start to the third quarter.
A dominant effort did the trick.
Iguodala scored 23 points, Kenneth Faried had his eighth double-double of the season and the Denver Nuggets beat the struggling New Orleans Hornets 102-84 on Sunday night.
“That’s a point we wanted to … make sure they didn’t have a chance to make a late-game run,” Denver guard Ty Lawson said of his team’s third quarter strategy.
Denver made 11 of 18 shots and outscored New Orleans 32-20 in the third quarter – using a simple principle.
“Pay attention to detail,” Lawson said. “We came in here at halftime and the coaches gave us adjustments we needed to make.”
It was the second straight game the Nuggets used a third quarter surge. They had outscored Golden State 31-17 Friday to put away the Warriors.
During the first half Sunday, we were pretty good except for about a four-minute stretch where we had a nine-, 10-point lead and gave it right back,” Denver coach George Karl said. “After that we built it back up (in the third quarter) where I felt the flow of the game was more like we like it and where we got a lot of guys involved.”
Iguodala was coming off a 29-point effort against Golden State. Faried had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, winners of four straight.
Lawson had 17 points and six assists for the Nuggets who are 4-1 at home.
Reserve Brian Roberts led New Orleans with 17 points. Ryan Anderson added 16, but was held scoreless in the second half.
The Hornets have lost seven straight.
“Not any good thing to take from a game like this,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said.
The Hornets avoided their most lopsided loss of the year. New Orleans had lost by 22 to the New York Knicks.
“We are having problems right now,” Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez said. “We are just embarrassed.”
“We didn’t play well in the third quarter,” Vasquez said. “We had a lot of deflections and I turned the ball over and they turned them into dunks.”
Lawson had 11 points in the quarter, and made three consecutive shots, the last a 19-footer off a pass from Kosta Koufos with 3:50 left to boost the Nuggets lead to 78-50.
Roberts scored six points in the last 3:47 to get the Hornets to 83-61 at the end of the quarter.
Denver turned the game over to its substitutes early in the fourth quarter. Only Koufos was on the floor at the finish.
New Orleans made the most of it. Roberts hit a wide open shot from the wing, closing the gap to 94-75 with 4:43 left. Corey Brewer and Evan Fournier hit jumpers to get the lead back to 98-76.
New Orleans’ Jason Smith‘s basket tied the game at 26 early in the second quarter, the last time the Hornets trailed or led. It was a quarter of 10-0 runs. Andre Miller put the Nuggets up 38-28 with a pair of free throws, but Robin Lopez‘s dunk ended a ten-point rally to cut the deficit 40-38.
The Nuggets started to pulling away and held a 51-41 edge at the break. They continued to roll into the third quarter when Faried started the second half with a jam off a steal.
“The NBA is a cruel league,” said Williams. “They try to embarrass you every night and that’s what you saw tonight.”
NOTES: Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin was awarded the game ball before the tip. .. There was no update on the progress of Hornets center/forward Anthony Davis (left ankle). … Colorado State alum Smith played after being poked in the eye in the team’s loss to Phoenix. … Smith a Kersey, Colo., native was relieved to have only a dozen requests for tickets from the town of 2,229. “Much different from the first time through when the whole town seemed to be here.” … Denver was without forward Wilson Chandler (left hip) for the sixth straight game. … Iguodala used both hands to drop a dunk a minute after clanging a one-handed slam.
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