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RECAP: Nikola Jokic scores 37 to lead the Denver Nuggets past Pelicans

Mar 26, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (7) shoots around New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) in the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (7) shoots around New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) in the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic scored 37 points and the visiting Denver Nuggets held off Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans 113-108 on Friday night.

Michael Porter Jr. added 25 points, Jamal Murray had 23 points and 11 assists and Paul Millsap scored 16 as the Nuggets beat the Pelicans by the same score that the Pelicans beat them last Sunday in Denver.

Williamson had 39 points and 10 rebounds, but his layup with 2:07 left provided the last New Orleans points. Eric Bledsoe added 16 points, Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 14, Brandon Ingram had 13 (but made just 5-of-17 shots), and Josh Hart scored 10.

After Williamson’s layup gave the Pelicans a 108-107 lead, Jokic made consecutive baskets that gave Denver a 111-108 lead with 1:03 left.

New Orleans had a chance to tie but turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation with 5.1 seconds left, and Will Barton made two free throws.

Millsap’s dunk started the fourth-quarter scoring and gave Denver a one-point lead before New Orleans scored the next nine points.

Jokic’s basket ended the run and pulled the Nuggets within 95-89.

The Pelicans extended the lead to 11 before Denver got within 100-96 midway through the quarter.

Porter’s 3-pointer completed a 9-0 run that pulled Denver within 71-68 early in the third quarter.

Murray scored seven straight points and assisted on Jokic’s 3-pointer during a 12-0 run that gave the Nuggets an 85-80 lead.

Williamson ended the run with a basket and New Orleans scored the final six points to take an 86-85 lead at the end of the quarter.

Williamson scored nine points and Ingram had eight as the Pelicans raced to a 22-12 lead.

The Nuggets used a 14-4 run to pull even at 26 before New Orleans scored seven points in the final 58 seconds to take a 33-26 lead at the end of the quarter.

It also scored the first seven points of the second quarter before Porter’s jumper pulled Denver within 47-39 midway through the period.

The Nuggets got as close as six points before the Pelicans took a 63-54 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media