Pelicans hope to exact revenge from Nuggets
NEW ORLEANS — It might have been the low-water mark of the season for the New Orleans Pelicans.
On Nov. 15 in Denver, the Nuggets blasted the Pelicans 146-114, including an 82-point second half that came one game after they scored 82 in a game against Portland.
In the blowout victory, the Nuggets shot 62.9 percent from the floor, their best percentage since 2012, and made 18 of 35 attempts from long range. They also recorded a season-high 37 assists, and their starting five combined for 101 points.
Jamal Murray scored 31 points, and backcourt mate Gary Harris made 9 of 11 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, on his way to 22 points.
As the Pelicans (12-12) look for payback Wednesday night against the Nuggets (13-10) at the Smoothie King Center, they likely will have to do it without forward Anthony Davis, who missed the past two games with a strained left adductor and is listed as doubtful.
Davis did not practice Tuesday but did shooting and defensive drills following the team workout. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry does not want to rush Davis back until the big man is completely healthy.
“We’ll have to see,” Gentry said after practice Tuesday. “He did something and shot around a little bit today and moved around a little bit. I think we’ll see after practice how he feels, tomorrow how he feels, before we begin to make the decision on him playing or not.”
Davis played only 21 minutes in the first game against Denver but still led the Pelicans with 17 points. He is listed as day-to-day for Wednesday, but he said Monday he was still experiencing sharp pain in his left groin area when making lateral cuts.
“I’m getting better every day, I’m not quite there yet,” he said. “But I’ve been getting better for the most part. … On certain movements, the main ones are fine, but a lot of cutting and stuff like that are where the pain comes up.”
That could leave the scoring burden for New Orleans to DeMarcus Cousins, who had 14 points and six rebounds against Denver in the first game. Cousins will have to keep his emotions in check after being ejected Monday in the final minute of a 125-116 home loss to the Golden State Warriors for jawing with Kevin Durant. Both players picked up technical fouls and were tossed.
Cousins has picked up seven technical fouls in the first 24 games of the season. He said after practice Tuesday that he would make a better effort at remaining calm when teams try to goad him into doing something stupid.
“It sucks it happened,” Cousins said. “I try to go out of my way to do things the right way, and I felt most of it was instigated from the other end. But they felt like we both were in the wrong. It is what it is.”
The Nuggets opened a six-game road trip with a 122-105 loss in Dallas on Monday, a result that snapped their two-game winning streak. They fell behind by 25 points in the first half and could not recover despite 22 points from Murray and 21 from Harris.
“They basically just got what they wanted,” Murray said, “and we didn’t stop them for a long time.”
The Nuggets have been world beaters at home (10-2), but not on the road (3-8).