Denver, CO – Cody Zeller had a career-high 21 points and the visiting Charlotte Hornets had no problem handling the Denver Nuggets Saturday, cruising to an easy 104-86 win.

That final score is deceiving – the game was never that close, as Denver scored 34 points in the fourth quarter to prevent the loss from reaching epic status. This is the Nuggets second straight blowout loss, and things are going quickly downhill in Denver.

In fairness, the Nuggets came into the game shorthanded. Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur both missed the game because of illness, and even though he played, forward Wilson Chandler was dealing with migraines.

Still, the Nuggets never had a chance in this one. In their blowout loss to Memphis Thursday, there were other excuse – they were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and on the road against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. There are always extenuating circumstances, but the fact is that the Nuggets failed to show up Saturday. The Hornets have been playing better of late, but they came into with just 19 wins, same as the Nuggets.

Starting in the place of Faried, Danilo Gallinari lead the team with 15 points on 5-16 shooting. Ty Lawson almost snagged a double-double with ten points and nine assists, although he was held scoreless in the second half. The Nuggets shot just 36 percent from the floor and trailed Charlotte in every relevant statistical category.

There’s just not much to say after two straight losses in this fashion. Head coach Brian Shaw, who was also feeling under the weather, didn’t have much to say either after the game, though he summed things up pretty well.

“Not really a whole lot to say other than we’re not very good right now,” said Shaw. “You get down 32 in the first half, at home against this team is not acceptable. My young guys came in the fourth quarter, competed and tried to play hard to make it a little bit more respectable. But I’ve got to do a better job and everybody else has to do a better job. Other than that there’s not much more that I can say.”

The Nuggets have now lost nine of their last ten. They head out on the road next for a three-game trip, starting with the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. Tip-off is set 7 p.m.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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