Hornets suffer 7th straight defeat

Denver Nuggets center Kosta Koufos, right, swats the ball out of the hands of Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu as he drives the lane for a shot in the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Nuggets center Kosta Koufos, right, swats the ball out of the hands of Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu as he drives the lane for a shot in the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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.

Denver made 11 of 18 shots and outscored New Orleans 32-20 in the third quarter by 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.”

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.

It was the second straight game the Nuggets used a third-quarter surge. They had outscored Golden State 31-17 on 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.”

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.

The Hornets avoided their most lopsided loss of the year. New Orleans lost by 22 to the New York Knicks.

“We are having problems right now,” point guard Greivis Vasquez said. “We are just embarrassed. We didn’t play well in the third quarter. 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. 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 score at 26 early in the second quarter, the last time the Hornets were tied 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 10-point rally to cut the deficit to 40-38.

The Nuggets held a 51-41 edge at the break. They continued to roll into the third when Faried started the second half with a jam off a steal.

“The NBA is a cruel league,” Williams said.

“They try to embarrass you every night, and that’s what you saw tonight.”

Notes

There was no update on the progress of Hornets center/forward Anthony Davis (left ankle). ... Denver was without forward Wilson Chandler (left hip) for the sixth straight game.