Associated Press
The New Orleans Pelicans’ playoff hopes looked like they might take a hit with Anthony Davis out. Instead, the team has stayed in the thick of the race by continuing to find ways to score.
With Davis and two of the team’s other top scorers out again Sunday night, the Pelicans will try for a season-high fifth straight win by taking advantage of the scuffling Denver Nuggets.
Davis has missed the past three games because of a sprained right shoulder, but New Orleans (31-27) has extended its winning streak to four during his absence and shot 51.3 percent or better in the last three. The Pelicans have averaged 102.8 points during that run after scoring 86.3 per game in a season-worst four consecutive defeats.
They’re also without starting point guard Jrue Holiday(leg) and reserve forward Ryan Anderson (knee). Davis, Holiday and Anderson are averaging a combined 53.7 of the team’s 99.8 points.
Alexis Ajinca provided a career-best 24 points, including the tiebreaking layup with 25.9 seconds to go, in a 104-102 victory over Miami on Friday. He’s averaging 16.7 points on 21-of-28 shooting and 7.0 rebounds while Davis has been out.
Ajinca, who made 9 of 10 shots Friday, averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in his first 41 games this season.
“It put a little more pressure on me, but I try to do everything I can to help the team and so far it works well,” Ajinca said. “Hopefully it keeps going that way, but I want A.D. to be back. … Hopefully I can play with him the same way.”
His efforts have helped New Orleans pull within one-half game of eighth-place Oklahoma City in the Western Conference.
The Pelicans will try to keep the pressure on and send Denver (20-38) to its 10th straight home loss and 19th loss in 21 games overall.
The Nuggets have been outscored by an average of 19.4 points in a five-game losing streak and given up 110.8 points per game in their past four. They were also held below 40.0 percent shooting for the fifth straight time in a 104-82 drubbing to Utah on Friday, making only 33.3 percent, and have been outrebounded in a franchise-worst 15 … – Click Here To Visit Article Source