Parker boosts Hor­nets past Nuggets down the stretch

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY RICK BON­NELL

rbon­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Tony Parker has said for weeks he’s tired of the Char­lotte Hor­nets los­ing close ones. Fri­day night, he was big in chang­ing that pat­tern.

Parker came off the bench to score 19 points, push­ing the Hor­nets to a 113-107 vic­tory over the Den­ver Nuggets at Spec­trum Cen­ter. This came on a night when start­ing point guard Kemba Walker strug­gled with his shot, mak­ing 4-of-11 from the field.

The Nuggets en­tered this game with the best record in the West­ern Con­fer­ence at 17-7. The Hor­nets (12-13) broke a three-game los­ing streak, their long­est of the sea­son.

Nuggets guard Monte Morris hit a pull-up 3-pointer with 1 minute, 13 sec­onds left to cut the Hor­nets lead to three, af­ter Hor­nets cen­ter Cody Zeller’s left-handed layup at­tempt fell off the rim.

Parker re­sponded with a 10-foot pull-up to push the lead back to five with just un­der a minute re­main­ing.

Hor­nets for­ward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made a big block from be­hind Nuggets for­ward Juan Her­nan­gomez’s shot at the rim late.

Walker fin­ished with 21 points, eight as­sists and six re­bounds.

Nuggets guard Ja­mal Mur­ray scored 20.

3 WHO MAT­TERED Marvin Wil­liams:

That he even played, con­sid­er­ing Sun­day’s in­jury (shoul­der), was re­mark­able. Juan Her­nan­gomez: He had a dou­ble-dou­ble of 15 points and 10 re­bounds.

Hor­nets re­serve guard (16 points) seems to be break­ing out of a shoot­ing

Ma­lik Monk:

slump.

OB­SER­VA­TIONS

The Hor­nets got a sur­pris­ing boost Fri­day when Wil­liams was cleared to play fol­low­ing Sun­day’s right shoul­der strain. The Hor­nets pro­jected Mon­day that Wil­liams would miss at least a week with the in­jury, but his re­cov­ery was rapid.

Nuggets coach Mike Malone said pre-game he’s been so im­pressed with Hor­nets guard Jeremy Lamb that he could be in the dis­cus­sion for Most Im­proved Player.

Wil­liams showed quickly his shoul­der wasn’t dis­rupt­ing his shot, hit­ting two 3s in the first half.

reached dou­ble­fig­ures scor­ing for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game, af­ter reach­ing 10 points Wed­nes­day in Min­neapo­lis. In his pre­vi­ous four games, Monk to­taled 15 points on 5-of-18 shoot­ing from the field.

Parker looked 26, rather than 36, on a spin­ning drive to the rim in the first half.

WORTH MEN­TION­ING

The Hor­nets went into Fri­day hav­ing been charged with nine tech­ni­cal fouls this sea­son to op­po­nents’ four. Walker has the most with three. That’s a lot less than last sea­son, when now-departed cen­ter Dwight Howard was among the NBA lead­ers in techs.

Cen­ter Bis­mack Biy­ombo was the Hor­nets’ in­ac­tive player Fri­day.

Hor­nets for­ward Nic Ba­tum had foul trou­ble al­most from the start of this game.

THEY SAID IT

“I’m re­ally sur­prised. It looked like it could have been a re­ally se­vere in­jury when you watched the play. It looked like it could have re­ally gone South.” – Hor­nets coach James Bor­rego on Wil­liams’ sur­pris­ingly quick re­cov­ery.

“I told Kemba I couldn’t

PHO­TOS BY CHUCK BUR­TON AP

CHUCK BUR­TON AP

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