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Nuggets 117, Pelicans 97

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DENVER — Guard Arron Afflalo and forward Kenneth Faried scored 19 points each, forward Wilson Chandler had 18 and the surging Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 117-97 on Friday night.

Forward Danilo Gallinari had a season-high 17 points and center JaVale McGee scored 14 for the Nuggets, who held Pelicans forward Anthony Davis in check.

Davis has been historically good in the early going. Through the first 10 games he was averaging 25.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.9 blocks and 2.3 steals, numbers that only four players have averaged for an entire season — and all are in the Hall of Fame.

He had 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks against Denver, which has experienced a resurgence over the last eight days. The Nuggets were 1-6 after being routed at home by Portland on Nov. 12 but have won four of their last five.

Denver (5-7) has crept closer to .500 with a stronger defense and a better effort at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets lost three straight at home before winning their last two.

Both teams had six players reach double figures in scoring.

Davis kept the Pelicans (6-5) in the game in the first quarter by scoring 10 of the team’s 26 points. He sat to start the second and the Nuggets went ahead 37-26 with an 11-0 run that spanned the end of the first and start of the second.

Denver’s defense sparked the run by forcing eight early turnovers. New Orleans missed its first six shots of the second before forward John Salmons hit a 3-pointer with 7:46 left before halftime.

The Nuggets, who trailed 14-2 early, increased their lead to 16 on two free throws by Gallinari. Denver led 59-49 at halftime.

New Orleans got within a several times in the third quarter but the Nuggets pulled away in the fourth. McGee’s alley-oop dunk made it 92-77 and six straight points by Chandler gave Denver a 98-77 lead with 8:46 remaining.

NOTES: Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said SF Danilo Gallinari will eventually return to starting lineup when “Gallinari is back to being the player he was before the injury.” F Wilson Chandler has started 10 of the 12 games at small forward while Gallinari works back to full strength after two ACL surgeries. … New Orleans C Omer Asik was a late scratch with lower back pain. He aggravated the injury that kept him out of the previous two games. … Through their first 11 games, the Nuggets are averaging just 13.8 turnovers a game. It is currently the lowest turnover average in franchise history. … The Pelicans are averaging a league-low 10.9 turnovers per game. They had a season-low six against Sacramento on Tuesday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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