Recap: The Pelicans dominate the paint and hand the Nuggets their third straight loss, 113-105

New Orleans Pelicans v Denver Nuggets
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Although the Nuggets have had their number this season, the Pelicans stuck with their game plan and destroyed Denver in the paint

The Denver Nuggets lost their third in a row tonight as the New Orleans Pelicans handed them the 113-105 defeat. The Nuggets were 11-0 at home when they won the first quarter this season, but the Pelicans broke that streak tonight. Ingram, Hayes, and Jones all scored 20+ as Jokic was the only Nugget in 20 point territory tonight. The Nuggets made 19 threes, but the Pelicans outscored Denver 58-32 in the paint. They also scored 13 transition points and those were a backbreaker for Denver late in this game.

Although Brandon Ingram scored 23 points and 12 assists, Herbert Jones was the story of this game. He dropped 25 points on 8-10 shooting, and 18 of his 25 came in the 4th quarter. The Nuggets could not stop Jones or the rest of the Pelicans from entering and scoring in the paint all night. Early in the 4th quarter, the Pelicans were shooting 68% in the second half. They finished 56% overall to Denver’s 45%. Tonight was a tough loss, but the Nuggets look to shrug it off Sunday against the Nets, tipoff at 1:30 PM.

1st Quarter

  • Both teams attacked the paint early as Denver initiated a 6-4 advantage. After a Jaxson Hayes dunk to tie it up, every point in the game was either scored in the paint or from the free-throw line
  • Nikola Jokic and Devonte’ Graham traded threes along with a Barton layup to tie it up at 11. After the Pelicans converted on another offensive rebound, Monte Morris answered with a corner three
  • After Graham tied the game at 16 with his second triple, Monte also added his second three of the game. Herbert Jones would then respond with a three and to that point, both teams shot over 50% from three
  • The Pelicans turned it over on consecutive possessions but the Nuggets could not capitalize. Jose Alvarado hit a mid-range jumper to give the Pelicans a two-point lead, but then Zeke Nnaji tipped an offensive rebound for a Forbes three at the other end
  • After JaMychal Green’s three-point attempt circled every point of the rim before popping out, he took a great charge which resulted in a Rivers three to end the quarter

Score: 29-27 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic – 9, Hayes/Graham – 6

2nd Quarter

  • Zeke Nnaji corralled an offensive board for another put-back layup and Bones Hyland hit a three to give Denver a 34-29 lead. Alexander-Walker would respond with a layup, but Denver forced a turnover on their next defensive possession which turned into a JaMychal Green corner three
  • Rivers and Ingram both missed open layup/dunk opportunities as there was a short scoreless drought for both teams. Ingram ended the drought with a dunk, but Zeke Nnaji kept attacking the offensive glass, although he would only hit one of two free-throws
  • Bryn Forbes sank his second three of the game to increase the lead to 41-35. Valanciunas answered with a hook shot, but Will Barton matched it with a smooth finger roll at the other end
  • Alvarado hit a top of the arc three, yet the Nuggets responded once again with a Zeke Nnaji triple. At the four-minute mark, the Nuggets were shooting 47% from beyond the arc with nine made threes. The Pelicans only had four, but they outscored the Nuggets in the paint 22-12
  • Following a timeout, Hayes brought the Pelicans within four with a layup over Jokic. After a Barton miss at the end of the shot clock, Alexander-Walker knocked in a three
  • New Orleans got within one at 46-45 until Davon Reed sank a three from the wing. Ingram and Hayes responded with four consecutive points to tie it up at 49, but Reed saved the day again with his second three of the game

Score: 52-51 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Hayes – 12, Jokic – 9

3rd Quarter

  • Both Pelican bigs scored in the paint to begin the quarter. They obtained a 55-52 lead and stretched it with an Ingram mid-range jumper
  • Uncle Jeff scored three the hard way with an and-one layup to tie the game at 57, but the Pelicans and Jaxson Hayes remained relentless in the paint with another layup
  • Denver’s hot shooting from three continued early in the quarter. Reed and Morris both knocked in their 3rd triple on consecutive possessions. Then Jokic scored his first points since the 1st quarter with a tip-in layup off his own miss, and Barton added with a layup to regain their lead at 67-63
  • The lead was short-lived as Valanciunas hit a layup and a three to give the Pelicans a one-point advantage. Jokic recovered the lead for Denver with two free throws, a driving floater, and an assist for a Barton layup
  • Monte Morris sank another three to stretch Denver’s lead to four. Morris shot 4-6 from three at that point, but the momentum quickly decayed as they gave up an and-one layup to Ingram
  • The Nuggets struggled mightily on the defensive end in the third. At the two-minute mark, the Pelicans shot 10-15 in the quarter, but Denver’s perimeter shooting and timely layups helped them fend off any serious Pelican danger
  • Four straight Pelican free-throws tied the game at 80 until Nnaji grabbed his 4th offensive rebound of the game and slammed it home. Ingram then answered with a smooth mid-range to end the scoring for the quarter

Score: 82-82

Scoring leaders: Hayes – 22, Morris – 18

4th Quarter

  • New Orleans scored four in a row to claim their largest lead of the game 86-82. Denver then forced three turnovers in a row, but they could only capitalize on one. After the third turnover, Denver gave it right back to New Orleans for an easy Alexander-Walker transition layup
  • Following a timeout, Bones swished a three to get the Nuggets within one 88-87. Jokic returned to the game at the 8-minute mark, but he quickly turned it over and the Pelicans took advantage with a Jones three.
  • Although Jones knocked in another three, Jokic sank two threes in a row. Jones and Barton then traded buckets to increase the score to 97-95 Pelicans
  • Jokic tied the game at 97 with a hook shot, but the Nuggets turned it over twice in three possessions. Jones scored again with a transition layup and a couple of possessions later, Valanciunas also converted in transition with a dunk to give the Pelicans a 101-97 lead
  • Following a Denver timeout, the Nuggets turned it over again which gave the Pelicans another easy transition dunk. Morris responded with a fadeaway three, but Valanciunas swished a hook shot to maintain the Pelicans five-point advantage
  • Ingram hit a turn around, fadeaway mid-range to extend the lead but it was shortened by a Barton three. The Pelicans replied with two Jones free-throws and Jokic corresponded with two free-throws himself
  • Two Jones free-throws and a driving layup sealed the game for the Pelicans

Score: 113-105 Pelicans

Scoring leaders: Jokic/Jones – 25

Stat leaders

Points: Jokic/Jones – 25

Rebounds: Jokic – 12

Assists: Ingram – 12

Hero of the game: Herbert Jones – 25 points on 8-10 shooting and 3-4 from three. 18 of his points came in the 4th quarter

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