Tyreke Evans leads Pelicans past Nuggets, 105-89
Tyreke Evans looks so comfortable coming off the bench that
Pelicans coach Monty Williams chose not to start him when Eric
Gordon was unable to play because of his injured right hip.
Williams got the result he wanted.
Evans had 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and New
Orleans handed the Denver Nuggets their fifth straight loss, 105-89
on Friday night.
It was the second straight double-double for Evans, who led the
Pelicans to a victory Monday night in Sacramento with 25 points and
12 rebounds. He appreciates the significance of providing scoring
off the bench.
”It’s important,” Evans said. ”When we come in like that and
play together, find each other, move the ball … I think that’s
when we’re at our best.”
Jrue Holiday had 17 points and four steals, causing two
turnovers that led to late fast-break points as the Pelicans
slammed the door on Denver’s comeback bid.
”I just love the way he defends and the way he competes,”
Williams said. ”It’s contagious.”
Anthony Davis added 17 points and four blocked shots despite
playing sparingly in the first half because of three early
Wilson Chandler scored 22 points and J.J. Hickson added 16
points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who trailed by 18 in the
second quarter but were as close as 93-87 on Quincy Miller’s
3-pointer with 2:55 to go.
That’s when Holiday found Davis for an alley-oop tip and again
for a fast-break basket. Holiday followed that up with a short
floater and a steal to set up Evans’ fast-break layup, and New
Orleans easily held on from there for its second consecutive
A few minutes earlier, Davis briefly prevented Denver from
pulling within seven points when he blocked three shots on one
possession, the first two by Chandler and a third layup attempt by
”When he’s talking on defense and rotating properly, we’re
pretty tough,” Williams said. ”Our defense is pretty sound.”
New Orleans blocked eight shots in all and outrebounded Denver
53-42. The Pelicans outscored the Nuggets 48-36 in the paint and
outshot them 47.2 percent to 40.2 percent.
Denver was without starter Kenneth Faried for a second straight
game because of his left ankle sprain. That led to a lineup shuffle
in which Timofey Mozgov made his second start of the season at
center and Jordan Hamilton started his eighth game at guard in
place of a healthy Randy Foye.
”We talked about just trying to stay together and pulling for
each other,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. ”This is our team and
we have to play with the guys that we have, regardless of who’s
out, regardless of the fact that it is a tough stretch for us,
losing five in a row.
”The same way we were feeling about each other when we won
seven games in a row, we have to find and generate the kind of
energy and effort that we need to correct what we’re doing right
now that’s allowing us to lose all these games in a row,” he
added. ”We talk about changing behavior in order to change
results. We have to do that, and that means even if you’re not in
there, pulling for the guy that’s in there in front of you.”
Ty Lawson had 14 points and 12 assists for Denver. Hamilton
added 12 points.
Despite a lethargic first half, Denver cut New Orleans’ lead to
70-64 in the third quarter after an 8-2 spurt that started with
Hamilton’s 3 and ended with Chandler’s 3. Williams called timeout,
and New Orleans responded.
Al-Farouq Aminu’s steal led to Holiday’s 15-foot jumper, then
Holiday stole the ball from Lawson and hit a breakaway layup. That
sparked an 11-0 run that included Davis’ alley-oop layup off Evans’
lob, Aminu’s jumper and Evans’ 3.
The Pelicans never trailed, thanks to sharp early shooting. New
Orleans shot 52 percent in the first quarter, building a 34-29 lead
when Darius Miller hit a 3 as he was fouled and sank the free throw
for a four-point play.
The second quarter wasn’t quite as crisp for New Orleans, and
Davis spent much of the period on the bench with three fouls – but
Denver only fell further behind. Ryan Anderson’s third 3 of the
half put the Pelicans ahead 49-31.
Lawson had 10 first-half points for Denver, and his four
straight to close out the second quarter pulled the Nuggets to
58-45 at halftime.
NOTES: New Orleans (13-14) earned its first victory against an
opponent that entered with a winning record. … Anthony Morrow
wound up starting for Gordon, who averages 15.4 points. Morrow had
eight points. … Mozgov finished with eight points and nine
rebounds. … Jason Smith missed his third straight game with a
bruised right knee. Anderson started for him. … The Pelicans play
five of their next six games on the road, where they are 5-9 this
season. … The Nuggets finish a two-game road swing in Memphis on