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Pelicans-Nuggets Preview

The New Orleans Pelicans are scoring as efficiently as any team in the NBA of late.

The Denver Nuggets appear to have finally found some footing on defense, but they'll be tested Friday night when they host New Orleans.

Both teams have won three of four, with the Pelicans (6-4) coming off Tuesday's 106-100 win at Sacramento. Anthony Davis scored 28 and blocked three shots to push his league-leading total to 39 while Ryan Anderson scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half.

Tyreke Evans scored all 18 of his points in the second half against his former team as New Orleans outscored the Kings 61-46 over the final 24 minutes. Evans, who has never shot better than 33.8 percent from 3-point range in a season, is 14 of 30 from deep.

The Pelicans were outscored 34-13 in the fourth quarter of Monday's 102-93 loss at Portland, but they're averaging 111.8 points on 53.9 percent shooting during their 3-1 stretch. They also lead the league with 49.8 points in the paint per game.

"To go through what we went through last night and to bounce back like this against a good team and a tough place to play was really a good win for us," coach Monty Williams said. "Our third quarter defense, I thought that won the game for us. Our shots fell and Ryan got it going."

New Orleans is committing a league-low 10.9 turnovers per game and had a season-low six against the Kings.

Denver (4-7) is giving up 98.3 points per game in its last four after allowing 111.1 through its first seven contests. However, three opponents in that stretch - New York, Indiana and Oklahoma City - rank among the league's bottom seven in scoring.

The Nuggets won 107-100 Wednesday against the Thunder, a much better showing than their last home game - a 130-113 to Portland in which they yielded 84 first-half points.

"Confidence breeds confidence," said Arron Afflalo, who scored 13. "The more victories you get, the more of that feeling you want."

Afflalo's 12.7 scoring average is his lowest in four seasons and his 43.3 field-goal percentage is the second-lowest of his career. He has averaged 23.0 points on 53.9 percent shooting in his last six matchups with New Orleans, however.

Wilson Chandler scored a team-high 21 on 8-for-15 shooting after going 9 for 28 over his previous two contests, and Ty Lawson added 15 points with a season-high 15 assists.

The Pelicans, who have been without Omer Asik for two straight games due to lower back pain, were outrebounded by 20 by Sacramento. They've averaged a minus-7.2 margin over their last six contests and could struggle again with Asik questionable. He is the team's second-leading rebounder with 10.0 per game. After him and Davis, New Orleans' next top rebounder is the 6-foot-6 Evans at 6.5 per game.

Denver hasn't been overly impressive on the boards, either, averaging a minus-0.5 margin.

The Pelicans have dropped eight of 10 in Denver, including five straight by an average of 17.0 points.

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