Nuggets 102, Pelicans 93

Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Center J.J. Hickson and forward Wilson Chandler each scored 19 points to lead a balanced attack as the Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 102-93 on Sunday night.
Guard Nate Robinson came off the bench to score 14 points for the Nuggets, who had five players score at least 12 points. Hickson also had 11 rebounds.
Forward Ryan Anderson had a game-high 26 points and guard Austin Rivers scored 17 for the Pelicans, who had their two-game win streak snapped.
The Nuggets got the defensive quarter they needed in the third. They held New Orleans to 30.4 percent shooting (7-for-23) and 16 points in the period to take a seven-point lead into the fourth.
Denver grabbed control midway through the period with an 8-0 run that turned a one-point lead into a 71-62 advantage. The Pelicans missed seven straight shots and had two turnovers during Denver's run that ended with guard Brian Roberts' 3-pointer from the wing.
The combination of solid defense and cold shooting by New Orleans continued into the fourth. The Pelicans missed their first three shots of the period and fell behind 79-68 on two jumpers by guard Andre Miller.
Anderson hit a jumper to cut it to eight but Hickson's driving dunk with 3:41 left gave Denver a 94-80 lead.
The Pelicans jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 2:08, prompting Nuggets coach Brian Shaw to call a timeout. Shaw, concerned about his team's slow starts of late, stopped the momentum with the break and Denver went on a 16-5 run.
New Orleans withstood the run and led by five late in the second quarter before the Nuggets rallied to tie it at 52-all on guard Randy Foye's 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left in the first half.
NOTES: New Orleans reserve G Tyreke Evans did not play after aggravating his sprained left ankle in Friday's win over Memphis. Evans, usually the Pelicans' first player off the bench, is day-to-day. ... The Nuggets kept their starting lineup intact despite coach Brian Shaw threatening to shake things up following Friday's home loss to Utah. The starters allowed 33 first-quarter points. "Sometimes you have to shake things up to get everybody's attention," Shaw said. "It wasn't just the result of last game, it's something that's been plaguing us since we left for the road trip." ... Pelicans starting C Jason Smith played his college ball at Colorado State and reserve F Lou Amundson was a prep star at Monarch High School in Louisville, Colo. ... Denver's 70.8 free-throw percentage ranks 27th in the NBA.

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