Nuggets Blitz Pelicans, Put up 146 in Rout of New Orleans
For starters, the Nuggets needed to get out to a good start. The starters obliged.
Friday night was another fun one at the Pepsi Center, which is quickly becoming the home court advantage it had been in so many years in the past. Powered by big production from the starting five, the Nuggets sprinted past the shell-shocked New Orleans Pelicans, 146-114.
At times, it didn’t even seem that close.
A 35-8 start set the tone. Nuggets players were all on fire at the same time. The team hit eight of its first nine shots, including 5-of-6 from the 3-point line in the opening sprint. How dominant a start was it? For a while, three Nuggets – Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris – had as many, or more, points than the New Orleans’ 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.
“We came out firing,” Murray said. “We were getting stops. We were running. Everyone was touching it, everyone was happy. We just had a lot of fun, put up a lot of numbers.”
And it essentially snowballed from there.
The Pelicans did close a 27-point first half deficit down to eight by halftime, but in the third quarter Nuggets’ starters went back to work. They opened the second half on a 21-9 run, and that proved to be the knockout blow. New Orleans didn’t have an answer for that, and the Pelicans were also down one big star, Anthony Davis, who left in early in the third quarter with a concussion after catching a Nikola Jokic shoulder while defending him. Rallying from the deficit was no longer an option.
"It was fun,” Harris said. “When we’re playing like that, we’re a hard team to beat.”
The win was the fourth straight at home for the Nuggets, who are now 7-2 at the Pepsi Center this season, and rolling up big numbers in most of the victories.
The 146 points was by far a season high. It doubled as the most points scored by a team in the NBA this season and the most points a Nuggets team has scored in regulation since putting 168 on Seattle on Mar. 16, 2008.
“We had some great offensive possessions where the ball was just flying around the court generating completely open shots,” Malone said. “It was really beautiful to watch, when you play the game the right way the way we did tonight.”
Murray nearly eclipsed the career-high he set last week with 31 points on Friday night. Paul Millsap nearly had a triple-double with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Gary Harris had 22 points and five assists. Nikola Jokic finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Wilson Chandler had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Nuggets field goal percentage (62.9) was a season-high.
“Great offense, great ball movement, everybody shared in it,” Malone said. “It’s another great home win for us on national TV.”
Christopher Dempsey: firstname.lastname@example.org and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.