NBA regular season

Aaron Gordon returns from dog bite injury as NBA champion Nuggets rout Hornets


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Aaron Gordon returns from dog bite injury as NBA champion Nuggets rout Hornets

CLEARED FOR TAKE-OFF. Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) dribbles the ball up court ahead of forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) in the third quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

After needing 21 stitches to his face and right hand due to a Christmas Day dog attack, high-flyer Aaron Gordon returns to help the Denver Nuggets maul the Charlotte Hornets

Jamal Murray scored 11 of his 25 points in another big third quarter for the Denver Nuggets, who beat visiting Charlotte 111-93 on Monday night (Tuesday, January 2, Manila time) to hand the Hornets their 11th straight loss.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 22 points, Nikola Jokic had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Reggie Jackson scored 15 points for the Nuggets. Aaron Gordon returned to Denver’s lineup after missing two games due to injuries to his face and hand from a dog bite and finished with 10 points.

Miles Bridges had 26 points and nine rebounds, Brandon Miller and Nick Richards scored 15 points apiece and Bryce McGowens and Ish Smith each supplied 10 points for Charlotte.

Smith was a member of the 2022-23 Nuggets team that won an NBA title. He received his ring before the game.

Jokic didn’t attempt a shot until he made a short hook with 43.2 seconds left in the first half, which helped Denver go into the break tied with the Hornets at 49. Jokic was 6-for-7 shooting on the night and is 26-for-28 from the field in the past three games.

The Nuggets used a 25-1 run to outscore the Hornets 30-9 in the third quarter of a victory at Charlotte on Dec. 23 and nearly replicated that feat on Monday night.

McGowens made a layup after Porter opened the second half with a 3-pointer, and it was all Denver from there.

Porter made two free throws and Jokic hit a turnaround hook shot, converted a three-point play and made a 12-footer. After Murray hit a 3-pointer, Gordon made a layup and Murray added another trey off a steal to make it 69-51 with 7:41 left in the period.

That 17-0 run was ended by Richards, who slammed home a dunk, but Murray drained three free throws, Porter connected from deep and Jokic scored four straight Nuggets points to increase the advantage to 79-55.

The lead grew to as many as 25 in the quarter, and the Nuggets took an 89-66 lead into the fourth, where they led by as many as 27.

In the two games this season between the teams, Denver has outscored the Hornets 70-26 in the third quarter. –

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