Nuggets-Pelicans Preview

With Ty Lawson struggling to regain his touch, the Denver

Nuggets haven’t been able to generate much scoring during their

worst losing streak in nearly two years.

The New Orleans Pelicans seemed to find their rhythm at the end

of an otherwise disappointing road trip.

Playing back home for the first time in two weeks, the Pelicans

will try to deal the slumping Nuggets a fifth straight loss Friday


Lawson averaged a career-best 20.9 points last month, but

December hasn’t been nearly as kind to Denver’s leading scorer. He

shot 35.4 percent in the first four games this month before missing

two because of a hamstring injury.

Since returning to the Nuggets (14-13), Lawson hasn’t been able

to shake his slump with 11.8 points per game – almost six fewer

than his season average – on 37.3 percent shooting in his last


Lawson scored 16 on Monday but missed nine of 14 from the field

and committed five turnovers in an 89-81 loss to visiting Golden

State. The Nuggets now try to avoid their first five-game slide

since February 2012.

”We haven’t had a good month,” guard Andre Miller said. “We

need better practices. We need to get better when we come back from

Christmas. It is always frustrating when you are struggling.”

Since ranking sixth in the NBA with 104.0 points per game on

Dec. 7, the Nuggets have been one of the league’s lowest-scoring

teams with a 90.6-point average. Their 40.4 field-goal percentage

and 26.9 3-point percentage are the league’s worst marks over that


Denver has only reached 100 points twice in its last 10 games,

though one of those occasions came in a 102-93 victory over

visiting New Orleans on Dec. 15. Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson

led the way with 19 points apiece, while Lawson had 12 on 4-of-9


While the Pelicans (12-14) have allowed 105.8 points per game

this month, they salvaged the finale of a five-game trip with a

strong offensive performance in a 113-100 win at Sacramento on


“We wanted to get a win to end the road trip,” Ryan Anderson,

who had a season-low eight points, told the team’s official

website. “It was just a good team win. It doesn’t really matter

statistically how you do when we win.”

Anderson, who finished with 26 points in the first meeting, has

scored 20 or more in five of six games against the Nuggets.

Tyreke Evans had 25 points and 12 assists, while Anthony Davis

added 21 points and 11 rebounds in Monday’s win. Jrue Holiday and

Eric Gordon also combined for 34 points and hit 5 of 8 from 3-point


Davis has averaged 22.0 points on 52.2 percent shooting with

10.7 boards in three games since missing only seven – including the

loss at Denver – due to a broken hand.

With Davis in the lineup, New Orleans should be more competitive

on the glass after getting outrebounded 51-32 in the first meeting.

The Nuggets, however, are expected to get second-leading rebounder

Kenneth Faried back from a sprained ankle.

The Pelicans have totaled 220 points on 48.0 percent shooting in

its last two games overall, and averaged 103.4 while winning seven

of 12 at home.

They’ve won the last two meetings in New Orleans.