The Denver Nuggets (15-15) are back in action after an embarrassing loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. Tonight they return home to Denver to face Lamelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets (16-17). They hope to bounce back after an embarrassment of a loss last night. It was the worst effort I had seen from an NBA team in a long time, and that can’t happen again.

The Nuggets are back down to .500, and it seems like any time they have a chance to create a cushion of a couple wins they seem to just sputter out. The season has been getting better as time goes on, but it is still disappointing considering how well Nikola Jokic has been playing.

For the Hornets, they are on a three game losing streak, and have lost four of their last five. It may be a good opportunity to bounce back and to get the Nuggets’ feet under them. The biggest weakness for the Hornets has been the first quarter, 150-75 in their four losses on their six game road trip.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (15-15) vs Charlotte Hornets (16-17)

When: 7:00 PM MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to Watch: Altitude TV, League Pass for non-Denver residents, 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: At The Hive

Injuries: Markus Howard OUT, Jamal Murray OUT, Michael Porter Jr OUT, PJ Dozier OUT, Bones Hyland QUESTIONABLE, Aaron Gordon QUESTIONABLE

Cody Martin OUT

Three Things To Watch

Does Will Barton Struggle Again?

After missing two games with injury, Will Barton has returned to the Nuggets’ lineup for the last three games with nothing more than a squeak. He is currently averaging 6.7 points per game while shooting 27.6% from the field and 14.3% from 3 in those games. He needs to be better in order for the Nuggets to be good without MPJ and Jamal. He’s shown that he can be a good second option for the Nuggets, and he needs to get back to that version of himself.

Effort Level.

The effort level for the Nuggets against the Thunder was laughable to be quite frank. That was the lowest amount of care I’ve seen put into a game from an NBA roster in quite some time. It was frustrating to watch, and if the Nuggets want to win tonight they’re going to have to pull their heads out of the sand.

Non-Jokic Minutes.

The Nuggets have been one of, if not the worst team of all time without Nikola Jokic on the floor. It has been really frustrating to watch and I’m sure it’s been frustrating for Nikola himself to build double digit leads and seen them completely blown regularly. If the Nuggets are to win tonight, they can’t have their bench be a -30 something in the 12 to 15 minutes that they play.