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- The Pelicans have 20 games left this season and with an eye towards the future, it would seem that coach Monty Williams would be willing to widen his rotations to get younger players more minutes. But that’s not necessarily the case, he said Sunday. “It’s all feel and circumstance right now. Different guys like Luke (Babbitt) haven’t gotten a chance to play because of the different lineups,” Williams said. “He doesn’t understand the wing position and thus we’ve tried to keep him at the four.”
- New Orleans (25-37) is 1-1 against Denver this season but won the last meeting 105-89 on Dec. 27. Williams said the key in that win, which will be important Sunday, will be getting back in transition. “We got out and ran the last time here and I think a lot of it was we got stops,” Williams said. “We have to keep them out of transition. We’ve got to keep (Kenneth) Faried and (J.J.) Hickson off the glass and Wilson Chandler is about as underrated a player as you’re going to see in the NBA.”
- Denver’s Ty Lawson will play in his fourth game since returning from a rib fracture. In the prior three games, he’s averaging 27 points, 11.7 assists and four rebounds. “As long as he continues to make the right decisions shooting the ball in the rhythm of the offense when he has the shots and stays with that energy and aggressiveness that he plays with, I’m happy to see his game grow and start to blossom,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said.
- Offense hasn’t been the problem for Denver (27-34) this season, averaging 103.3 points this season. It’s the other side that’s the issue; Denver is giving up 105.6 points this year. Part of that, Shaw said, is the style the team plays. “We obviously are trying to push the ball and get it up the floor and strike before the defense gets set,” Shaw said. “I think just mentally, because sometimes it comes so easy because we are running, we relax on the defensive side, too, and allow teams to push it back on us or get second shots.”
– Bradley Handwerger