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Denver Nuggets hang on to defeat visiting New Orleans Pelicans

Apr 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) prepares to pass the ball over New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) and forward Wenyen Gabriel (32) in the second quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic had 32 points and had a key block in the final seconds, and the host Denver Nuggets held on to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 114-112 on Wednesday night.

Facu Campazzo had a career-high 19 points and 10 assists, Michael Porter Jr. scored 28 and Aaron Gordon finished with 10 points for Denver (41-21)

Lonzo Ball had 16 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds for his first triple-double of the season, Brandon Ingram scored 27 points, Zion Williamson added 21, Eric Bledsoe had 17 points and Jaxson Hayes 10 for New Orleans (27-35).

The Pelicans cut a 13-point deficit to two points in the final seconds when Jokic turned it over on an inbounds pass with 9.9 seconds left. Ingram got the ball, drove to the lane and dished to Williamson. He went up for a game-tying dunk but Jokic blocked it, and the Nuggets held on.

New Orleans trailed by 109-96 with 3:18 left when Ingram hit a 3-pointer and Bledsoe a layup off a turnover. Jokic split a pair of free throws, Ball hit a 3-pointer and then Ingram stole the ball and dunked to make it 110-106 with 38.7 seconds left.

After two free throws by Campazzo, Bledsoe banked in a 3-pointer, Porter dunked it and Ingram hit another 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds left, setting up the final sequence.

It was 87-78 after three quarters and the Pelicans trimmed Denver’s lead to five early in the fourth. Campazzo’s two free throws made it 91-84 and Williamson and Hayes hit two foul shots apiece to make it 91-88.

Campazzo answered with a 3-pointer, Williams scored on a finger roll and then the Nuggets scored the next nine points, the last on Porter’s 3-pointer to give Denver a 103-90 lead.

The Pelicans didn’t go away. Bledsoe made a pull-up jumper and then fed Willy Hernangomez for a dunk and then Ingram scored off a turnover to make it 103-96 with 4:19 left.

Campazzo came through again for Denver, hitting two 3-pointers from the top of the circle around an Ingram miss to get the lead back to 13.

–Field Level Media