Nuggets out of playoffs after loss to Pelicans

Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 00:01:11-04

NEW ORLEANS -- Luke Babbitt scored 22 points and Tim Frazier had 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, leading the injury-riddled New Orleans Pelicans past the Denver Nuggets 101-95 on Thursday night.

Babbitt had 10 of the Pelicans' first 12 points and scored on a driving layup with 2:08 left to give them a 94-89 lead. After Denver cut the deficit to 94-91, Babbitt hit two free throws and Frazier sank a 3-pointer to seal the game.

New Orleans took the lead for good, 81-80, on Frazier's high-arching shot early in the fourth quarter. He then scored six points on a three-point play and 3-pointer to give the Pelicans a 92-84 advantage.

Toney Douglas added 20 points and a season-high 10 assists for New Orleans.

Darrell Arthur tied a career high with 24 points for Denver, which is on the verge of following the Pelicans and being eliminated from the Western Conference playoff picture. Gary Harris added 16 points for the Nuggets, and Kenneth Faried had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The Pelicans received plenty of contributions from players who were not on the roster at the beginning of March.

Frazier was signed to a 10-day contract on March 16 before being re-signed for the rest of the season. Jordan Hamilton, who signed a 10-day contract on March 25, scored 14 in his second game as a starter. James Ennis, who was signed Wednesday, added 11 points.

The Nuggets, who won at Memphis on Wednesday to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, could not take advantage of the Pelicans' lack of familiarity. In one sequence during the third quarter, the Nuggets botched consecutive fast breaks when a crosscourt pass hit the bottom of the net and an attempted alley-oop sailed over Faried's outstretched fingers.

There were 13 lead changes in the first quarter, six in the second quarter and seven in the third, with neither team pulling ahead by more than six points. Denver scored the last six points of the third quarter to go ahead 78-77.

Center Omer Asik is New Orleans' only starter from the teams' last meeting on Dec. 20 who is not out for the rest of the season with an injury. The list includes the Pelicans' five leading scorers: Anthony DavisRyan AndersonJrue Holiday,Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.


Nuggets: Despite losing, Denver completed its first winning month of the season, going 9-8. ... Will Barton, who averaged 24.7 points and hit 13 of 21 3s in the last three meetings with the Pelicans, went 0 for 8 from the floor and scored his first points on three free throws with 1.18 left in the third quarter.

Pelicans: New Orleans finished 5-12 in March. Its only winning month was January, when it went 8-6. ... Coach Alvin Gentry used his 38th starting lineup, extending a franchise record.