Preview: Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans


Dec 15, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday (11) guards Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson (3) in the first quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 102-93. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets (14-13) have struggled of late, losing four-straight to Western Conference teams and looking to break that trend against the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night. New Orleans on the other hand has lost four of their last five games, while getting stud forward Anthony Davis back in the lineup.

What: Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans

When: Friday, December 27th

Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana

Time: 8:00 PM ET, 6:00 PM MT

TV: Altitude Sports

As Ty Lawson goes the Nuggets go, and that has been a cause for concern of late. The point guard has struggled to regain his all-star start after a hamstring injury he suffered earlier in the season. Ty was on pace to be an all-star, averaging a career-high 20.9 points in November, but has struggled since returning to the Denver lineup. Since his return, he has averaged a low of 11.8 points per game, while shooting just 37.3% percent in the last six games.

Last Meeting: The Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans last played each other December 15th at the Pepsi Center, as Denver came away with the victory, 102-93J.J. Hickson was big for the Nuggets, scoring 19 points while adding 11 rebounds, 4 of which were offensive. Wilson Chandler would add 19 as well, shooting 7-for-14 from the wild, 2-for-4 from deep while collecting 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Ryan Anderson provided the offense for the Pelicans, dropping 26 points on 10-of-21 from the field, adding 6 rebounds. Austin Rivers was a surprise off the bench for New Orleans, providing a spark for the club late in the game. He would score 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 2-for-4 from behind-the-arc.

Denver didn’t see second-year star Anthony Davis in the last meeting in Denver, but will tonight in New Orleans. The first-overall pick of the 2012 draft out of the University of Kentucky has been a key component of New Orleans success. Since coming back from his hand injury, the forward has averaged 22.0 points per game, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in the teams last three games. On the season, Davis is averaging 19.3 points per game, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks, supporting a player efficiency rating (PER) of 27.21.

The Pelicans will also have guard Tyreke Evans back in the lineup. Evans was out with an ankle injury the night the Nuggets saw the Pelicans. In the teams last three games, Evans has come off of the bench averaging 19.0 points per game, 9.3 assists, and 1.7 steals. Denver might be without power forward Kenneth Faried once again as the forward injured his ankle in the loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Faried will not play tonight but has not been ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Randy Foye will also get bumped out of the starting lineup for Jordan Hamilton.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Denver Nuggets:

PG: Ty Lawson

SG: Jordan Hamilton

SF: Wilson Chandler

PF: J.J. Hickson

C: Timofey Mozgov

New Orleans Pelicans:

PG: Jrue Holiday

SG: Eric Gordon

SF: Al-Farouq Aminu

PF: Ryan Anderson

C: Anthony Davis