DENVER — Forward Kenneth Faried had a career-high 34 points to go with 13 rebounds and three blocks and the Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Pelicans137-107 on Wednesday night.
Guard Ty Lawson had 14 points and 12 assists and guard Aaron Brooks had 24 off the bench for the Nuggets, who stopped a two-game home losing streak.
The 137 points ties a season high for Denver.
New Orleans lost star forward Anthony Davis to back spasms in the first half. Davis, who took an elbow to the face in Monday’s loss to Sacramento, scored six points and had three rebounds in 10 minutes before leaving for good in the second quarter.
Davis’ absence did not help the Pelicans’ attempt at a comeback. Denver led by 18 at halftime and pushed it to as much as 34 in the second quarter.
Guard Tyreke Evans led New Orleans with 20 points. The Pelicans have lost three straight.
Faried was a big reason New Orleans’ skid continued. The forward played like a postseason bid was on the line despite the fact Denver was eliminated last week. He hit 14 of 19 shots, many on dunks or layups in the lane. His three-point play early in the third gave Denver a 78-57 lead, and he reached his career high on a dunk midway through the fourth.
The Pelicans are trying to finish strong despite a tough schedule. They play five of their last seven games against playoff teams, and have two games each against Oklahoma City and Houston.
Things didn’t start well against Denver. The Nuggets had 40 points after the first quarter and built an 18-point lead in the second. Brooks had another strong game against the Pelicans, pouring in 10 of his 15 first-half points in the second.
He also had a block on 7-foot-2 center Alexis Ajinca in the second when Denver was pulling away. The Nuggets led 71-53 at halftime. It is the most the Pelicans have allowed in the first half this season.
Brooks hit another 3-pointer late in the third to make it 103-80.
The Nuggets are barely above .500 at home a season after setting the franchise record for home victories with 38. They are now 20-18 at Pepsi Center with home games left against Houston, Golden State and Utah.
NOTES: Pelicans G Eric Gordon missed his seventh straight game with tendinitis in his left knee. Gordon has not played since coming out of New Orleans’ win over Atlanta on March 21. Coach Monte Williams said the team is not shutting him down despite having only seven games remaining. … Denver F Wilson Chandler missed his sixth game in a row and seventh in the last eight with a left groin strain. … New Orleans F Anthony Davis is leading the NBA in blocks at 2.9 per game. It’s more than a block higher than he averaged last season. … Eight Nugget players scored in the first quarter when the team put up 40 points.
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