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Evans, Holiday lead Pelicans past Nuggets

By Brett Martel, Associated Press

Posted Dec. 27, 2013 21:17

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tyreke Evans had 19 points and 10 assists, and the New Orleans Pelicans handed the Denver Nuggets their fifth straight loss, 105-89 on Friday night.

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.

Anthony Davis added 17 points and four blocked shots despite playing sparingly in the first half because of three early fouls.

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 straight victory.

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 Andre Miller.

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.

Ty Lawson had 14 points and 12 assists for Denver. Jordan Hamilton, making his eighth start this season, had 12 points.

Despite a lethargic first half, Denver managed to 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. Pelicans coach Monty 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 New Orleans 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: The Pelicans played without guard Eric Gordon, who averages 15.4 points and missed his first full game since hurting his right hip Monday night. Anthony Morrow started for Gordon and had eight points. ... Timofey Mozgov made his second start of the season for Denver and had eight points and nine rebounds. ... Jason Smith missed his third straight game with a bruised right knee. Anderson started for him. ... Hamilton started in place of Randy Foye as part of a lineup shuffle stemming from Kenneth Faried's absence (left ankle). ... 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 Saturday night.

STAR OF THE GAME

Jrue Holiday

Points 17 8-13 FG, 1-1 3FG,
Rebounds 4, 1 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 8
Steals 4
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points Wilson Chandler 22
Rebounds J.J. Hickson, Ryan Anderson 10
Assists Ty Lawson 12
Steals Jrue Holiday 4
Blocks Anthony Davis 3
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Pelicans soar with Evans on the court

When reserve guard Tyreke Evans was on the court, New Orleans outscored Denver by 20 points. No Nuggets player had a positive plus-minus rating.

KEY MOMENT
Denver's second-half comebacks stall twice

Denver cut a 13-point halftime deficit to six points in the third quarter, only to see New Orleans respond with an 11-0 run. The Nuggets were within six again late in the fourth, but could get no closer.

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