It was not as big as the Warriors’ win over the Rockets, but the New Orleans Pelicans (9-23) pulled off a huge upset over the Denver Nuggets (21-9) en route to a 112-100 Christmas Day victory, Wednesday night, inside the Pepsi Center in Denver.
After losing a franchise-record 13 games in a row, the Pelicans have now won three of their last four contests to close out their west coast road trip, and are 2-0 against the Nuggets this season.
“Well, we’ve been playing well defensively this trip,” head coach Alvin Gentry said after the win. “We hung in and I don’t ever think we gave up. Going back to the Golden State [Warriors] game, we made plays and had shots that just didn’t go in. But, I think they showed resilience. We never let anything bother us and we just stayed the course.”
Against one of the best defensive teams in the league, the Pelicans once again proved that their record does not indicate how well they have played throughout the season. With six players scoring in double figures, New Orleans put together one of their best offensive performances of the year connecting on 45.6% of their shots from the floor, as well as shooting 41.9% from deep.
It was another career-performance for Brandon Ingram as he knocked down seven 3-point field goals (77%) en route to scoring a game-high 31 points on an efficient 11-for-18 (61.1%) shooting from the field.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 26, 2019
“He’s been really good for us,” Josh Hart said after a 16-point (5-10 FG, 4-5 3PT) performance in the win. “The first year he was not as confident in his shot. Last year he grew some confidence, and this year he’s been lights out. I mean, he works at it. He’s going to the gym late at night. There’s no surprise he’s shooting the ball as well as he has this season.”
With Jrue Holiday adding 20 points and eight assists, New Orleans’ biggest impact came from big man, Derrick Favors. He helped New Orleans outhustled the Nuggets in nearly every statistical category — including rebounding where Favors pulled down 13 of the Pelicans’ 57 boards.
“He’s huge man. You can’t really see how much of an impact he has,” Holiday said. “For him to be able to guard [Nikola] Jokic, 1-on-1, and hold him to what he held him, that’s nice.”
In addition to the work he did on the glass, Favors played as if he was the versatile all-star center in Denver, as he recorded eight assists while holding Nikola Jokic to shoot 8-for-20 from the field on an inefficient 23-point night.
Following the win, the Pelicans will return to the Smoothie King Center for an inter-conference showdown Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 P.M. CT.
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