Nuggets score season-high 146 points in rout of Pelicans
DENVER — New Orleans withstood a hot start by Denver, but it couldn’t overcome a scorching second half without its star forward.
Jamal Murray scored 31 points, Gary Harris returned from missing two games with a sore right shoulder to score a season-high 22, and the Nuggets capitalized on the loss of Anthony Davis in a 146-114 win over the Pelicans on Friday night.
Paul Millsap had 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists, Nikola Jokic had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Emmanuel Mudiay scored 19 points for Denver (9-6).
“Jamal did a great job pushing the pace, we were able to get open shots early and our defense as very good at the beginning of the game and at the start of the third quarter,” Harris said.
The 146 points are an NBA high this season and the most Denver has scored in regulation since putting up 168 against Seattle on March 16, 2008. The Nuggets hit 62.9 percent from the field — their best average since shooting the same at Minnesota on April 26, 2012.
New Orleans allowed a franchise most in points and was burned again by a hot-shooting team. Toronto hit 59.2 percent from the field against the Pelicans on Wednesday.
“It sucked. It sucked. That’s my thoughts on the game,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We didn’t do anything right and everything was terrible, coaching included. It was an embarrassment. We embarrassed our franchise. That includes everyone.”
Davis scored 17 points for New Orleans before leaving early in the third quarter with a concussion, the team said. He didn’t return.
Davis was injured when he was hit in the face by Jokic’s head as he was backing down for position with the ball 58 seconds into the third quarter.
“I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry,” Jokic said. “I don’t want nobody to get injured because of me. I hope he’s good. I didn’t do it on purpose.”
Davis was down on the court for a minute before getting up and walking to the locker room.
Gentry didn’t have an update on Davis after the game.
E’Twaun Moore had 16 points and DeMarcus Cousins 14 for New Orleans (8-8), which has not beaten a team with a winning record.
“They hit everything,” Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo said. “I’m pretty sure they were shooting about 70 percent in the first six minutes of the game. Everything was easy; we didn’t make it hard on them.”
The Pelicans, who had trimmed a 27-point first-quarter deficit to eight at the half, couldn’t overcome the loss of Davis. Murray scored 15 points and made all six of his shots in the third quarter and Millsap had nine of his 20 in the quarter.
“(Davis) went down, but we were still able to get good looks, but we missed them,” Rondo said.
The Nuggets outscored New Orleans 42-24 in the quarter to lead 106-80. Denver scored a season-high 82 points in the second half.
The Nuggets made nine straight shots during an 18-0 run that gave them a 35-8 lead. New Orleans missed seven shots in a row during Denver’s run.
The Pelicans chipped away at the lead in the second quarter to get back into the game. They outscored Denver 37-27 in the period and trailed 64-56 after Rondo’s layup just before the buzzer.
“For me, the stat that jumped out was 37 assists,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “That’s an incredible number. We scored 82 points in the second half; we had 22 assists on 32 made field goals. That’s why we got the lead. In the second quarter when they got back in the game, we forgot why we got the lead.”
NOTES: Denver Broncos LB and Super Bowl L MVP Von Miller and teammate Brandon Marshall were in attendance. ... Nuggets F Mason Plumlee played despite dealing with a core muscle injury coach Michael Malone said was suffered sometime this week. Plumlee had an MRI done Friday morning. “All the MRI results came back positive for us,” Malone said. “The doc said he’s OK to play and it’s just going to be a pain tolerance for Mason.” ... Pelicans G Tony Allen missed his fourth straight game with left knee inflammation. Coach Alvin Gentry said he will be evaluated over the next few days.