The Pelicans 58-45 first half went much like what the game preview had hoped for in attaining a sizable lead: controlling Ty Lawson, keeping the Nuggets off the offensive glass and not allowing many easy baskets. Lawson was 2-6 in the first half with 3 turnovers (6-6 FT's though) and the Pels had a 10 rebound advantage (Nuggets with 6 offensive boards), an 8 point advantage in the paint, 13-2 second chance points and a positive fast break margin of 2 points.
Anthony Davis dinged his elbow falling into the media, but his three fouls in only 7:09 of court time hurt more. Thankfully, his production wasn't missed as Alexis Ajinca took care of the glass with 8 rebounds and the scoring was spread through a host of players (Anderson 11, Evans 10, Holiday & Aminu with 7).
The second half saw the Nuggets come out more assertive, meanwhile the Pels offense stagnated. So much so, Monty Williams called a timeout with 4:06 remaining to get Evans into the game. Almost immediately, Aminu, Holiday and Davis made 3 steals in succession for a quick 4-point burst and the team kept their foot on the pedal finishing the 3rd quarter up 81-65.
In the fourth quarter, things got a bit interesting as the Nuggets cut the lead to 6 for the 2nd time in the second half, but a superb alley-oop finish and a transition lay-in by Davis ensured New Orleans would garner their first win against a team over .500.
- Tyreke Evans was the star of the game. He filled the statsheet in a variety of ways: from his patented drives (19 points) to some nifty passes (10 assists) to his solid board work (7 rebounds). However, one difference tonight was he actually made a few jumpshots. First a three, then a long two. If he develops some consistency in this area, look out opponents.
- Anthony Davis has been getting off to slow starts since his injury return and tonight was no exception. As mentioned, three quick fouls limited him early, but the 2nd half saw things get back to business as usual. The highlights were 4 blocked shots and a couple of sweet Sportscenter-worthy finishes.
- Ryan Anderson didn't have the accuracy (6-19) but he was the team's leading rebounder with 10.
- Jrue Holiday turned in another excellent performance: 17 points (8-13), 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and only 2 turnovers. However, his defense might have been even more impressive as he kept Lawson off-balance through most of the game (8 turnovers).
- Darius Miller found his stroke tonight going 3-4 for 11 points, 4 rebounds and an assist. His high point was getting fouled on a 3 point make.
- Brian Roberts was an awful 0-4 with 3 turnovers. And, as expected, his defense on Lawson was laughable.
- Tonight's finishing five were Holiday-Evans-Aminu-Anderson-Davis and, no, floor spacing wasn't a problem. Sure Aminu and Evans made a few perimeter jumpers, but the Nuggets didn't put forth a great defensive effort. Against more quality opponents, the Pelicans will likely miss Gordon and Jason Smith.
- Pelicans held the Nuggets to 89 points, 3rd lowest total on the season.