NBA: Shorthanded Pelicans stun Nuggets, 120-112

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Mar 03 2019 01:12 PM

Elfrid Payton #4 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter at the Pepsi Center on March 02, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Matthew Stockman, Getty Images/AFP

Julius Randle had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 29 points, and the shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans beat the host Denver Nuggets 120-112 on Saturday night.

Frank Jackson scored 16 off the bench for New Orleans, which swept both games of a back-to-back.

Nikola Jokic had 20 points and nine rebounds while battling foul trouble and Jamal Murray also scored 20 for Denver. The Nuggets have lost two straight at home after winning 20 of 21 in Denver.

The Pelicans were without two of their best players on the last of a tough back-to-back set. E'Twaun Moore was sitting out for rest and Anthony Davis was out with the flu.

The Nuggets led by four at halftime and quickly pushed the advantage to 10 in the third, but the Pelicans took control from there. Down 79-69, New Orleans went on a 14-2 run to take its first lead since its first possession of the game.

Denver came back to take a four-point lead but the Pelicans scored the next nine points to go ahead 92-87.

New Orleans led by three at the start of the fourth quarter and increased it to eight on Jahlil Okafor's short jumper.

Jokic found Malik Beasley in the corner for a 3-pointer that got Denver within 105-100 but the Pelicans kept building the lead, going up by nine with 5:10 left.

Jokic, who had 12 points in the fourth quarter, hit a 3-pointer to get cut New Orleans' lead to 113-107. Down 117-109 the Nuggets had a chance to cut it to five but Paul Millsap, who finished with 16 points, missed three free throws and the Pelicans held on.

Jokic was plagued by foul trouble for the second straight game. He picked up three quick ones in the first half and played just six minutes.

Even without Davis and Moore, the Pelicans survived a fast Denver start to climb back into the game.

The Nuggets led throughout and built a 19-point lead early in the second quarter. New Orleans chipped away and got within 71-67 at halftime with a 40-point second quarter.

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