Defense was not a factor for the Pelicans last night (and honestly when has it been, this season?) as the trio of Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon combined for 68 points; and an additional 53 points off the bench helped New Orleans defeat the Denver Nuggets, 130-125, at the Pepsi Center.
With the win, the Pelicans (8-19) picked up their second win in their five-game road series. After losing 115-98 in their Nov. 17 matchup at home, the Pelicans evened the season series with the Nuggets with the victory.
The Pelicans started the fourth quarter with a three-point basket to increase their lead to 102-96. Following the basket, the Nuggets went on a 7-3 run to take a 103-102 lead.
The teams again went back and forth before the the Pelicans went on an 8-0 run to take a 116-114 lead. With 3:59 remaining in the game, the Pelicans remained hot and continued to play hard.
Davis returned to the game and recorded three critical blocks on the defensive side of the ball to limit the Nuggets from scoring on offense. His presence plus a 14-10 run by the Pelicans helped them to seal the victory.
Dec 20, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) is defended by Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) during the first half at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
For the game, the Pelicans shot 56 percent from the field, 46 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line. The Nuggets finished the game, shooting 47 percent from the field, 49 percent from behind the arc and 82 percent from the free throw line. Despite the loss, the Nuggets outrebounded the Pelicans, 39-36, and scored more points in the paint, 54-48.
Both teams finished with six players in double figures that included three bench players.
Davis led the Pelicans in scoring with 27 points, followed by Evans with 21 points and Gordon with 20. Off the bench, Jrue Holiday finished with 21 points, followed by Ryan Anderson with 16 points and Norris Cole with 10.
In the third quarter, the Pelicans scored first, cutting the lead to 74-70. From there, the teams continued to trade baskets. After a timeout with 6:17 remaining, the Pelicans found a rhythm and led by as many as seven in the quarter.
The Nuggets (11-16), however, fought hard at the end of the quarter and cut the Pelicans lead to 99-96 going into the fourth quarter.
Dec 20, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton (5) passes the ball around the back of New Orleans Pelicans center Kendrick Perkins (5) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
At the half, the Pelicans shot 54 percent from the field, 78 percent from the free throw line and 46 percent from behind the arc. The Pelicans earned 26 points from players off the bench as well.The Nuggets shot 52 percent from the field, 60 percent from three-point range and 85 percent from the charity stripe.
Davis, who did not play in the second quarter due to “flu like” symptoms, led the Pelicans in scoring with 19 points. Gallinari led the Nuggets in scoring with 18 points. The Nuggets also outrebounded the Pelicans, 22-16, in the first half.
In the second, the two teams continued to exchange baskets on offense. Both teams lacked a defensive presence as both teams found solid looks from the floor to earn points.
Consistent three-point shooting was the difference for the Nuggets in the quarter, shooting 60 percent from three-point range in the game.
Following a timeout with 2:17 remaining in the half, the Nuggets led 67-61. The Pelicans cut the deficit to as little as three points but the Nuggets managed to lead at the half, 74-67.
The Pelicans jumped out to an early 16-7 lead before the Nuggets called a timeout with 7:47 remaining in the first quarter. Following the timeout, Danilo Gallinari kept the Nuggets in the game, getting to the charity stripe for all 11 of his points in the quarter.
Anthony Davis then proceeded to put on a clinic, scoring 19 points to give the Pelicans a 36-31 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Pelicans return to action on Wednesday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Central time…….