NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tyreke Evans looks so comfortable coming off the bench that Pelicans coach Monty Williams chose not to start him when Eric Gordon was unable to play because of his injured right hip.
Williams got the result he wanted.
Evans had 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and New Orleans handed the Denver Nuggets their fifth straight loss, 105-89 on Friday night.
It was the second straight double-double for Evans, who led the Pelicans to a victory Monday night in Sacramento with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He appreciates the significance of providing scoring off the bench.
"It's important," Evans said. "When we come in like that and play together, find each other, move the ball ... I think that's when we're at our best."
Jrue Holiday had 17 points and four steals, causing two turnovers that led to late fast-break points as the Pelicans slammed the door on Denver's comeback bid.
"I just love the way he defends and the way he competes," Williams said. "It's contagious."
Anthony Davis added 17 points and four blocked shots despite playing sparingly in the first half because of three early fouls.
Wilson Chandler scored 22 points and J.J. Hickson added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who trailed by 18 in the second quarter but were as close as 93-87 on Quincy Miller's 3-pointer with 2:55 to go.
That's when Holiday found Davis for an alley-oop tip and again for a fast-break basket. Holiday followed that up with a short floater and a steal to set up Evans' fast-break layup, and New Orleans easily held on from there for its second consecutive victory.
A few minutes earlier, Davis briefly prevented Denver from pulling within seven points when he blocked three shots on one possession, the first two by Chandler and a third layup attempt by Andre Miller.
"When he's talking on defense and rotating properly, we're pretty tough," Williams said. "Our defense is pretty sound."
New Orleans blocked eight shots in all and outrebounded Denver 53-42. The Pelicans outscored the Nuggets 48-36 in the paint and outshot them 47.2 percent to 40.2 percent.
Denver was without starter Kenneth Faried for a second straight game because of his left ankle sprain. That led to a lineup shuffle in which Timofey Mozgov made his second start of the season at center and Jordan Hamilton started his eighth game at guard in place of a healthy Randy Foye.
"We talked about just trying to stay together and pulling for each other," Denver coach Brian Shaw said. "This is our team and we have to play with the guys that we have, regardless of who's out, regardless of the fact that it is a tough stretch for us, losing five in a row.