Pelicans shine early, hold on late to down Nuggets, 115-110
Coming off their best performance of the young season in a win over Dallas, the New Orleans Pelicans hoped to carry that momentum over to Friday night’s home game against defending NBA champion Denver.
The task was tall. The Nuggets came in 9-2, including a win at home over New Orleans.
The momentum carried over.
New Orleans parlayed a terrific first half into a sizeable lead and held a second half charge by the Nuggets to win 115-110 at Smoothie King Center.
The Pelicans jumped out to a 36-28 lead after one quarter and grew the lead to 69-53 by halftime.
Denver adjusted and held the Pelicans to just 46 points in the second half but the Pelicans had enough and got key stops down the stretch after the Nuggets pulled within 103-102 with 4:01 to play in the game.
Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Herb Jones each scored four points the rest of the way to get the job done.
Williamson led the Pelicans with 26 points, despite missing six of 11 free throws. Jonas Valanciunas scored 22 points with eight rebounds while Ingram contributed 21 points and eight assists. Naji Marshall had 12 points off the bench.
New Orleans shot the ball extremely well, at 52 percent from the field, including 52 percent from 3-point range.
The Pelicans won despite being beaten 51-39 on the boards.
Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 18 assists and 16 rebounds for Denver.
Now 6-6, the Pelicans face another tough test, hosting Minnesota, 9-3 on the season, Saturday evening in the second of a back-to-back test against another top Western Conference team.
If the Pelicans play like they have played in their last two home games, the Pelicans could move closer to the upper echelon of the conference.
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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…