Balanced attack helps Nuggets take down Pelicans
Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson netted 19 points apiece as the Denver Nuggets took down the New Orleans Pelicans, 102-93, from Pepsi Center.
Hickson also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Denver, which had lost three of five on the heels of a seven-game winning streak. Nate Robinson contributed 14 points off the bench while Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson each scored 12 points, with Faried grabbing nine boards and Lawson dishing out eight assists.
Ryan Anderson dropped a game-high 26 points for the short-handed Pelicans, who were without star big man Anthony Davis and sixth man Tyreke Evans. Davis, who has missed the last five games with a broken hand, had his cast removed before Friday's win over Memphis, but is still without a timetable to return. Evans missed the tilt with a sprained left ankle.
Austin Rivers took advantage of his extended playing time with 17 points in 22 minutes off the bench, and Jrue Holiday had 12 points with seven assists.
Both teams shot 37-of-85 from the floor and 7-of-24 from the arc with 23 assists. The difference in the game was Denver's ability to get to the free throw line. The Nuggets shot 21-of-28 from the stripe, while New Orleans made just 12-of-19.
Andre Miller opened the fourth quarter with consecutive jumpers to extend Denver's lead to 79-68 at 9:45. The Nuggets kept New Orleans at arm's length throughout the fourth, eventually opening up a 14-point lead on Hickson's slam in the final minutes to put it away.
Earlier, the Pelicans shot 11-of-18 in the first quarter and led 27-24 after 12 minutes, but the Nuggets came back to tie the score at 52 apiece at intermission. Randy Foye's trey 3.8 ticks before the halftime buzzer capped a back-and-forth first half that featured 10 lead changes and three ties.
Denver led 63-62 midway through the third following Al-Farouq Aminu's deep 2. The Nuggets then used an 8-0 surge to gain a little breathing room.
Rivers' jumper at the third quarter buzzer made it 75-68 in favor of Denver heading into the final frame.
The Pelicans streak of three-straight road wins came to an end ... Denver outrebounded New Orleans, 51-32 ... New Orleans fell to .500 on the season ... The Pelicans continue their five-game road trip in Golden State on Tuesday. Denver is set to host the Thunder on Tuesday.
12/15 23:12:16 ET