Augustin scores 24, Nuggets defeat Hornets 101-93
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) D.J. Augustin scored 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and the Denver Nuggets snapped a three-game road losing streak with a 101-93 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.
Darrell Arthur and Gary Harris added 13 points apiece for the Nuggets, while Nikola Jokic had 11 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.
Nicolas Batum had 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Hornets, who lost at home for only the third time in the last 15 games. Jeremy Lin had 16 points and Kemba Walker added 15 for Charlotte.
It was a costly loss for the Hornets, who had beaten Miami on Thursday night to pull into a tie with the Heat for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets are hoping for home-court advantage in a playoff series. They are 26-11 at home on the season.
The Nuggets outrebounded the Hornets 51-38 and led by as many as 22 points in the third quarter after Harris knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing.
The Hornets trimmed the lead to 16 to start the fourth quarter before focusing on getting the ball to Al Jefferson in the low post. The veteran center responded with baskets on three straight possessions and came up with a steal that led to a fast-break layup by Walker to trim the Denver lead to nine.
But Jefferson picked up his fifth foul with 8 minutes left and Augustin hit a pair of 3-pointers to cut the push the lead back to 16.
Still, the Hornets, who lacked intensity for most of the game, kept on battling.
Frank Kaminsky scored from inside the paint and Batum hit a short jumper and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to cut the lead 91-86 with 4:06 left.
But Charlotte couldn't get any closer.
With Denver leading 99-93 with 25 seconds left, Augustin missed a driving layup but Harris got the offensive rebound and was fouled. He sank both shots to seal the win.
The Nuggets took a 57-40 halftime lead behind a combined 27 points off the bench from Will Barton, Jusuf Nurkic and Augustin. Denver also outrebounded a sluggish Charlotte squad 28-16.
Coming off the big win against the Heat on Thursday night, the Hornets struggled to find consistency on offense and were limited to 36 percent shooting from the field before the break.
Nuggets: Denver's bench outscored Charlotte's 46-32. ... Jokic had his 14th double-double of the season.
Hornets: Cody Zeller had a career-high five blocks.
Nuggets: Visit Cleveland on Monday night.
Hornets: Host San Antonio on Monday night.