January 30, 2015

The Charlotte Hornets' troubles on the road date to last season. Missing Nicolas Batum certainly isn't helping.

With Batum's status uncertain again, the Hornets head into the finale of this trip looking to snap their seven-game road losing streak Sunday night against the struggling Denver Nuggets.

Charlotte (17-19) has lost 22 of its last 27 games on the road, giving up an average of 106.7 points while losing seven straight.

However, it was the offense that was the problem Saturday. The Hornets shot 36.9 percent from the floor - 7 for 23 from 3-point range - in a 97-83 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers to extend their overall slide to six games.

"At this point, we are just trying to get a win," guard Jeremy Lin said. "But I would say (Saturday) that we played harder and had more communication on the defensive end than we have had in previous games. If we keep playing as hard as we did (Saturday), good things will happen in the near future."

That's been rare with Batum - second on the team with a career-high 16.3 points per game - nursing a sprained right toe that's sidelined him for the last four games.

Lin has started in his place over that stretch and performed very well, averaging 17.3 points on 48.1 percent shooting after scoring a season-high 26 against the Clippers. He's scored 16.8 per contest while sinking 7 of 16 from long range in his last four visits to Denver.

Kemba Walker has averaged 22.0 points in his past three meetings with the Nuggets, but that all came at home. He was held to eight points in his only appearance in Denver, a loss on Dec. 22, 2012.

Walker is coming off one of his worst performances of the season, missing 12 of 16 attempts from the floor and finishing with 11 points against the Clippers. The Hornets' leading scorer was averaging 26.3 points over the three prior games.

Charlotte has won four straight meetings with the Nuggets, including two in Denver.

The Nuggets (13-24) are opening a season-high eight-game homestand, but their 5-11 home record is among the worst in the league. They've lost four straight there while allowing opponents to score 111.5 points per game and shoot 49.7 percent from the field.

Denver's home skid is part of its overall 2-10 stretch that continued with Friday's 91-84 loss at Memphis.

"I thought the turnovers were a big part of our demise ... we had 18 turnovers that led to 16 points," coach Michael Malone said.

Danilo Gallinari leads the Nuggets with a career-high 18.4 points per game, but he's producing 25.5 in four after missing six with a left ankle sprain. He finished with 29 points Saturday, making 8 of 18 from the floor while sinking all 11 from the foul line.

Will Barton had been a bright spot for Denver but he's cooled considerably. The reserve guard has totaled 18 points on 25.9 percent shooting in the past three games after he scored 27.0 on 46.3 percent over the three previous contests.

It's not clear if Denver will have forward Kenneth Faried available after he missed one game to be at the birth of his child. Faried leads the team with 8.9 rebounds and ranks third with 12.3 points.

Darrell Arthur filled in for Faried on Saturday, scoring 12 points and pulling down nine boards.

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