For the third game in a row, the New Orleans Hornets led for nearly the entire first 3 quarters. And for the third game in a row, they couldn't finish in the 4th. As a result, the Denver Nuggets handed the Hornets their 5th straight loss on Friday night by the score of 96-88.

One bright note for the banged up Hornets was Marco Belinelli (pictured left). After struggling from the field for the last week and a half, Belinelli shot his way out of a slump, finishing with 13 points, nailing his first 3 shots.  Belinelli started at SG for New Orleans, who learned today that they would be without starting SG Eric Gordon for the next 2 to 3 weeks. Gordon has been battling a swollen, bruised right knee. Backup point guard Greivis Vasquez led the Hornets in scoring with 16.

Head coach Monty Williams had to use his 4th different starting lineup of the young season. In addition to Gordon's absence, Trevor Ariza missed his 2nd straight game with a groin injury. Chris Kaman made his first start of the season, while Carl Landry came off the bench in replacement of SF Al-Farouq Aminu. Landry had started the first 6 games of the season at PF.

A sudden surge in ice cold shooting, coupled with poor transition defense, caused the Hornets lead to evaporate in a hurry. Without Gordon, the Hornets don't have a reliable scorer down the stretch.New Orleans led going into the 4th quarter, but Denver was in the midst of a 19-0 run. The Hornets losing streak now stretches to 5 games.

Now the Hornets have to turnaround for a road game tonight in Dallas against the Mavericks. Tip-off from American Airlines Center is set for 8:00.