Nikola Jokic had 27 points and 12 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 113-106 today.
Zion Williamson scored 15 points in about 21 minutes for New Orleans. He also had one spectacular block in the fourth quarter. The Pelicans dropped to 0-2 since the NBA's top overall draft choice was activated for the first time this season Wednesday night.
Michael Porter Jr. and Torrey Craig each had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Denver. The Nuggets improved to 3-2 since guard Jamal Murray went out with a left ankle sprain.
Denver led for most of the game and by as many as 15 points. The Pelicans were as close as 109-106 on Josh Hart's 3 with 1:19 remaining when rebounding problems that plagued them throughout the game struck again on Jokic's missed 3. Will Barton grabbed Denver's 24th offensive rebound and hit a driving layup to give the Nuggets 35 second-chance points.
The Pelicans outshot Denver 46.3 per cent to 37.7 per cent, but committed 17 turnovers and missed 12 free throws. The Nuggets outrebounded New Orleans 56-45. The Nuggets' offensive rebounding gave them 106 shot attempts to New Orleans' 82.
Jerami Grant had 14 points for the Nuggets, finishing with free throws he earned after grabbing Denver's 23rd offensive rebound of the game in the final minutes.
JJ Redick scored 18 points for New Orleans and Hart finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.
The Pelicans outscored Denver by 16 when Williamson was in the game. He helped fuel a 14-2 run that gave New Orleans a brief, 72-70 lead in the third quarter. But Denver responded with an 8-0 run that included five second-chance points scored after offensive rebounds and never trailed again.