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.