NBA: Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram help Pelicans topple Nuggets
NEW ORLEANS — Zion Williamson scored 26 points and Brandon Ingram added 21, and both came through in the final minutes to lift the New Orleans Pelicans to a 115-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Williamson and Ingram each scored twice during a late 8-0 run and the Pelicans narrowly held on after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson and Aaron Gordon each missed 3-point shots for a tie game during the same possession in the final 30 seconds.
The ball went out of bounds off Denver with 15 seconds left after Gordon’s miss, and Herb Jones hit two free throws for New Orleans after being fouled immediately on an inbound pass with 13.5 seconds remaining.
Jokic (26 PTS, 16 REB, 18 AST) is putting in work down the stretch 🃏
— NBA (@NBA) November 18, 2023
Jonas Valanciunas scored 22 to help New Orleans win its second straight NBA In-Season Tournament game, improving the Pelicans’ record in West Group B to 2-1 and leaving Denver with the same mark. New Orleans could have a chance to win its bracket against the Clippers in Los Angeles on Nov. 24.
Nikola Jokic had 26 points, tied a career-high with 18 assists and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Nuggets, who never led in the game. Christian Braun had 24 points and Michael Porter Jr. added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
New Orleans led by as many as 20 points when Ingram’s back-to-back 3s made it 82-62 in the middle of the third quarter.
JV: 22 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST 💪 pic.twitter.com/MuTKDTPhq4
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) November 18, 2023
But the Nuggets responded with three straight 3s — one each by Braun, Jokic and Caldwell-Pope — and trailed 95-86 after three periods.
Denver remained within single digits throughout the fourth and pulled to 103-102 when Braun scored on a putback and a layup.
That’s when Williamson and Ingram took over, starting with the latter’s mid-range jumper. Williamson followed with a finger roll and then a floater while being fouled to make it 109-102. Williamson missed the free throw, but Dyson Daniels rebounded and New Orleans swung the ball to Ingram for another mid-range jumper to make it 111-102 with 1:50 to go.
Naji Marshall scored 12 points on four 3s for New Orleans, and Daniels finished with 10. Gordon and Jackson each scored 14 for Denver.
Nuggets: Visit Cleveland on Sunday.
Pelicans: Host Minnesota on Saturday.