January 25, 2020 / 3:51 AM / 23 days ago

Nuggets deny Zion, Pelicans

EditorsNote: fixes parenthesis in second graf; fixes to “15” in eighth graf; adds “Pelicans” in next-to-last graf

Jan 24, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson warms up prior to tip off against the Denver Nuggets at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr. and Torrey Craig had double-doubles as the visiting Denver Nuggets defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 113-106 on Friday night.

Zion Williamson had his second straight strong performance in a losing effort for the Pelicans. The No. 1 overall draft choice had 15 points (on 7-of-9 shooting) and six rebounds in 20 minutes two nights after scoring 22 points in 18 minutes of a loss to San Antonio in his long-awaited NBA debut.

Jokic had 27 points and 12 rebounds, Porter had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Craig had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jerami Grant added 14 points for Denver, Will Barton had 13, and Monte Morris and Malik Beasley scored 10 each.

The Nuggets enjoyed a 56-45 rebounding advantage, including a 24-12 edge in offensive rebounds.

JJ Redick led the Pelicans with 18 points. Josh Hart added 15, Brandon Ingram scored 13, Jrue Holiday 12 and E’Twaun Moore 10. Hart grabbed 13 rebounds.

The Nuggets had an eight-point lead early in the third quarter when Grant was given a technical foul for arguing a personal-foul call. Coach Michael Malone subsequently received two technicals and was ejected for arguing.

Ingram made four of five free throws, and shortly thereafter, Derrick Favors’ layup gave New Orleans a 72-70 lead.

Denver scored the next eight points and led by as many as 15 before finishing with a 94-82 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Pelicans scored the first four points of the fourth quarter and pulled within 97-92 when Redick made a 3-pointer with 7:30 remaining.

Grant sank two free throws before Williamson went to the bench for good with 6:52 remaining. Craig and Morris made consecutive 3-pointers to compete an 8-0 run that gave Denver a 105-92 lead with 5:35 left.

Lonzo Ball’s 3-pointer and Hart’s three-point play helped New Orleans get within five, but the Pelicans missed a chance to get closer when Grant’s offensive rebound led to two free throws that he sank.

Hart’s 3-pointer cut the margin to three with 1:19 to go, but Barton grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup for a 111-106 lead with 48.7 seconds left.

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