DENVER spoiled Anthony Davis’ dominant season debut as the Nuggets held on to a 107-102 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on the road at the Smoothie King Center on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
Davis fired in 16 of his game-high 50 points in the first quarter but was equally matched by Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic, who had 15 of his 23 in the period that ended with Denver up, 30-24.
The Nuggets kept rolling in the second and third quarters to keep an 8-point lead entering the final period. But Davis again led a Pelicans late rally, capping it off with a dunk to trim the gap to two, 100-102, at the 0:57 mark.
But Emmanuel Mudiay sank five of six crucial free throws late to help the Nuggets keep the Pelicans at bay and open the season with a road win.
Nurkic had 23 points to lead Denver, while Will Barton added 22. Danilo Gallinari also chipped in 15 markers, while Mudiay finished with 11.
Aside from his 50-point total, Davis had 16 rebounds, seven steals and four blocks, but he found little support from the undermanned Pelicans as Tim Frazier and E’Twaun Moore added 15 and 10, respectively, for New Orleans.