Thursday, July 18, 2024
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NBA Preview: Denver Nuggets (9-2) at New Orleans Pelicans (5-6)

The Denver Nuggets, who are preparing to visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, are the reigning NBA champions and are tied for the best record in this young season.

They also have the reigning league MVP in Nikola Jokic.

So they don’t get frazzled when things aren’t going well, which was the case when they fell behind the visiting Los Angeles Clippers by seven points midway through the fourth quarter Tuesday night.

Jokic had eight points and an assist during a finishing 19-9 run that produced a 111-108 victory. He finished with 32 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists.

The Nuggets wound up outscoring the Clippers 27-24 in the fourth quarter after allowing 32 points in the third quarter.

The Nuggets, who are 2-0 in the West Group B of the in-season tournament, are undefeated at home but just 2-2 on the road overall.

The Pelicans are 1-1 in the tournament after a 131-110 home victory against Dallas on Tuesday. The victory came just two nights after the visiting Mavericks led by as many as 29 points on their way to a 136-124 victory against New Orleans.

The Pelicans had their highest-scoring game of the season, which featured a season-high 44 points in the third quarter. The Pelicans, who had a season-high 33 assists and just 13 turnovers, had their most fast-break points of the season (44).

Associate head coach James Borrego filled in for head coach Willie Green, who missed the game because of a non-COVID illness. Green returned to practice Thursday.

New Orleans had a season-high 17 steals, which helped create the fast-break points.

Brandon Ingram and rookie Jordan Hawkins scored 25 points each to lead seven New Orleans scorers in double figures.

On Nov. 6, the visiting Pelicans led the Nuggets by as many as 20 points in the first half and settled for a 12-point halftime lead before Denver dominated the second half and took a 134-116 victory.

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