After brutal losing stretches, the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans appear to be back on track.
Both teams will try for a third consecutive victory when they meet in New Orleans on Sunday.
Denver (27-34) had dropped six straight and 11 of 12 before beating Dallas 115-110 on Wednesday and the Lakers 134-126 on Friday. Kenneth Faried had a career-high 32 points and 13 rebounds, and Ty Lawson scored 30 to go with a career best-tying 17 assists.
"It feels good to get two wins in a row but we can’t be happy with that because we want to win all of our games and finish the season strong," guard Evan Fournier said. "We outscored the Lakers but we have to do a better job defensively because we gave them way too many points."
Though there wasn’t much defense played, the Nuggets shot 54.5 percent and outscored Los Angeles 64-50 in the paint.
"It’s a win, we’ll take it," coach Brian Shaw said. "It’s good for us to finish on this note before we head out on this road trip."
Denver plays its next five on the road, with visits to Charlotte, Orlando, Miami and Atlanta coming up following this game.
"I feel like we can get all of these games. New Orleans and Charlotte scare me because we all know how we play against teams that don’t have a great record," Lawson said. "This is going to be a good road trip for us."
The Pelicans (25-37) snapped a season worst-tying eight-game skid with Tuesday’s 132-125 win at the Lakers, then beat Milwaukee 112-104 on Friday. Anthony Davis led the way with 29 points and 14 boards while Tyreke Evans scored 25.
"It feels good to get back in rhythm, winning some games," Davis said. "We know how that eight-game losing streak is and we don’t want to get back to it, and we’ve got to keep working."
Davis, who shot 12 of 22 against the Bucks, is averaging 24.4 points while shooting 56.4 percent in the last five home games.
"He’s tough, man. Just as far as the activity, they run a lot of stuff where they pull out the side on a pick-and-roll for him," Milwaukee’s John Henson said. "He attacks or he shoots the jump shot, and that’s kind of what they got going over there."
Evans has been terrific over a five-game stretch since moving into the starting lineup, averaging 22.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists while shooting 50.0 percent. New Orleans is 14-8 when he scores at least 15.
"He’s such a great challenger so he can do whatever, but I think he’s more locked in now than he’s ever been," teammate Anthony Morrow said of Evans. "He’s not just a scorer, he can rebound, he can pass, he’s a triple threat right now and I think he can be an All-Star one day."
New Orleans and Denver have split two meetings this season, with each team winning at home. The Pelicans are seeking a fourth consecutive home win in the series after cruising to a 105-89 victory Dec. 27.
Evans had 19 points, 10 assists and seven boards off the bench in that game.
Lawson had 14 points and 12 assists, but he also committed a career-worst eight turnovers. He is averaging 27.0 points and 11.7 assists while shooting 56.0 percent in three games after sitting out the previous nine due to a fractured rib.
"The game is really easy for him and I’m glad he is back playing because he brings so much energy to the court," Fournier said.