Alvarado scores career-high 38 to power Pelicans past Nuggets, 121-106

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In the final seconds, New Orleans Pelicans fans began a chant in unison Sunday afternoon.

It was appropriate.

The chant of “Jose, Jose, Jose” emanated from the rafters of Smoothie King Center.

The infectious energy of Jose Alvarado is contagious. Fans feed off it. His teammates feed off it.

Alvarado fed off of the Denver Nuggets, scoring a career-high 38 points as the New Orleans Pelicans whipped the Nuggets 121-106.

Alvarado dropped 12 of 19 field goal attempts including 8 of 11 from 3-point range along with 6 of 7 from the free throw line.

While at Georgia Tech, Alvarado’s career best scoring effort was 29 points.

The 38 points off the bench by an individual are a new franchise record for the team in New Orleans.

Former LSU star Marcus Thornton had 37 points off the bench in the 2009-10 season on February 23, 2010 against Cleveland in his rookie season as a member of the New Orleans Hornets.

New Orleans lost that game.

There was no way New Orleans was losing this one.

After Denver came out red hot and took a 30-16 lead, New Orleans closed the first quarter on a 12-1 run to cut the deficit to 31-27 by the end of the quarter. It could have been closer but Zion Williamson missed a pair of free throws with three seconds left in the period.

Williamson picked up where he left off in his last two games, scoring nine points in the quarter but the big spark was provided by Alvarado, who had eight points in just three minutes off the bench.

Denver shot 57 percent in the quarter while the Pelicans shot 52 percent.

The second quarter saw the lead change hands several times with Denver taking a 60-59 lead into halftime.

Nikola Jokic showed why he is the two-time current MVP, scoring 21 points with nine rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Alvarado was tremendous, finishing with 19 points, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Alvarado had two rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes.

As an equal opportunity offender, Alvarado would match that point total in the second half.

Williamson had 14 points in the half.

New Orleans shot 53.5 percent from the field and trailed.

After falling behind by five points in the third quarter, the Pelicans rallied to take a 78-75 lead behind consecutive driving slam dunks by Trey Murphy.

The run continued and it was a 19-8 run as New Orleans built an 87-81 lead by the end of the quarter.

After being blanked in the first half, Murphy scored 11 points in the quarter. New Orleans held Denver to 21 points in the quarter.

The Pelicans steadily increased the lead and pulled away in the fourth quarter as New Orleans outscored Denver 62-46 in the second half.

In the midst of being humbled, in the closing minutes with just over two minutes to play, Denver coach Mike Malone was ejected from the game.

After Denver came out red hot and took a 30-16 lead, New Orleans closed the first quarter on a 12-1 run to cut the deficit to 31-27 by the end of the quarter. It could have been closer but Zion Williamson missed a pair of free throws with three seconds left in the period.

Williamson picked up where he left off in his last two games, scoring nine points in the quarter but the big spark was provided by Jose Alvarado, who had eight points in just three minutes off the bench.

Denver shot 57 percent in the quarter while the Pelicans shot 52 percent.

The second quarter saw the lead change hands several times with Denver taking a 60-59 lead into halftime.

Nikola Jokic showed why he is the MVP, scoring 21 points with nine rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Alvarado was tremendous, finishing with 19 points, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Alvarado had two rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes.

Williamson had 14 points, though he missed three free throws.

New Orleans shot 53.5 percent from the field and trailed.

After falling behind by five points in the third quarter, the Pelicans rallied to take a 78-75 lead behind consecutive driving slam dunks by Trey Murphy.

The run continued and it was a 19-8 run as New Orleans built an 87-81 lead by the end of the quarter.

After being blanked in the first half, Murphy scored 11 points in the quarter. New Orleans held Denver to 21 points in the quarter.

In the midst of being humbled in the closing minutes with just over two minutes to play, Denver coach Mike Malone was ejected from the game.

Williamson finished with 25 points, six rebounds and four assists.

With Jonas Valanciunas battling foul trouble, Willy Hernangomez stepped up in solid fashion, scoring 12 points with eight rebounds and three assists.

New Orleans shot 51 percent from the field, including 42 percent from 3-point range.

Jokic got his, scoring 32 points with 16 rebounds and eight assists. It was far from enough.

The Pelicans are still doing this without Brandon Ingram, who remains out but could be back soon.

Now 15-8 and on a season-best 4-game win streak, the Pelicans host 6-18 Detroit on Wednesday before back-to-back home game showdowns with Phoenix Friday and Sunday.

Following that, the Pelicans have a tough road trip, with two games in Utah and another in Phoenix.

With the depth and confidence this team is playing with, the Pelicans will welcome the challenge.

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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