Nuggets-Pelicans Preview

Denver coach Mike Malone refused to use fatigue as an excuse for his team's latest performance, but the Nuggets might play better after getting a couple days off on their road trip.

A matchup with the lowly New Orleans Pelicans could also help the Nuggets get back on track Tuesday night following a lopsided defeat that ended their first win streak of 2015-16.

Denver (5-5) played its fourth game in six days and the second half of a back-to-back Saturday, losing 105-81 to Phoenix. Rather than blaming the schedule, though, Malone pointed to his team's “selfish play” in the first half.

The Nuggets were outscored 60-28 in the opening 24 minutes of their three-game trip and had their three-game win streak snapped.

“Young teams like us forget why you've had success,” Malone said. “I'm very disappointed in the effort and very disappointed in our lack of teamwork and unselfish play. It's back to the drawing board. I think our guys felt a little full of themselves because they won three in a row and they forgot how we need to play.”

Denver will try to bounce back against the Pelicans (1-9), who held an opponent to fewer than 100 points for the first time this season Sunday. However, they also failed to score 90 for a second straight contest in a 95-87 loss to New York.

Anthony Davis had 36 points in his return from a two-game absence due to a bruised right hip, but no teammate had more than 16. The short-handed team had its lowest-scoring game in a 100-81 loss at Toronto on Friday.

“We're the only ones that can dig us out of this,” coach Alvin Gentry said. ''We don't have any excuses. As I said, we can play hard and we can compete and do what we're supposed to do and if it works out, then fine.

“If it doesn't work out, then fine also. But we're not doing that. We're not competing at the highest level that we can from the standpoint that you get the game back workable.”

The Pelicans are missing Tyreke Evans, Kendrick Perkins, Norris Cole and Quincy Pondexter due to injuries.

The status of the Nuggets' Kenneth Faried is uncertain because of an ailing back that kept him out of the second half Saturday, while teammate Joffrey Lauvergne is reportedly close to returning from a lower back strain. The French center hasn't played since Nov. 1.

The Nuggets have won four of five against the Pelicans, needing two overtimes for a 118-111 victory at New Orleans in the latest matchup March 15.

Denver's Will Barton, who scored a then-career high 25 points in that game, had 26 in a 107-98 victory over Houston on Friday. Barton has totaled 45 points in his last two games and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Suns.

He totaled 41 points and 19 boards in his final two meetings with the Pelicans in 2014-15.

Davis is averaging 30.7 points, 14.3 rebounds and 5.7 blocks in his last three home games against Denver. He had 36 points and 14 boards while matching a career high with nine blocks and setting another with seven assists March 15.