Preview: Jokic and Denver play Williamson and the Pelicans


FILE – In this March 6, 2020, file photo, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson walks onto the court during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans. The rookie sensation’s availability to play remained unclear as the season’s resumption in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, approached. He left the NBA’s so-called “bubble” setup on July 16 to attend to an unspecified family medical matter. A week later, the club had yet to provide an update on his possible return. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza, File)

DENVER — New Orleans Pelicans (27-34, 11th in the Western Conference) vs. Denver Nuggets (40-21, fourth in the Western Conference)

Denver; Wednesday, 9 p.m. EDT

BOTTOM LINE: Two of the NBA’s top scorers, Nikola Jokic and Zion Williamson, meet when Denver and New Orleans hit the court. Jokic ranks 10th in the NBA averaging 26.2 points per game and Williamson is eighth in the league averaging 26.9 points per game.

The Nuggets have gone 23-13 against Western Conference opponents. Denver ranks fourth in the Western Conference with 49.6 points per game in the paint led by Jokic averaging 14.4.

The Pelicans have gone 15-18 against Western Conference opponents. New Orleans is sixth in the NBA scoring 14.1 fast break points per game. Williamson leads the Pelicans averaging 2.7.

The teams square off for the third time this season. The Nuggets won the last meeting 113-108 on March 26. Jokic scored 37 points to help lead Denver to the victory.

TOP PERFORMERS: Jokic leads the Nuggets scoring 26.2 points per game, and is averaging 11.0 rebounds and 8.7 assists. Michael Porter Jr. is averaging 24.8 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 56.0% over the last 10 games for Denver.

Lonzo Ball leads the Pelicans averaging 3.0 made 3-pointers while scoring 14.1 points per game and shooting 38.1% from beyond the arc. Williamson is shooting 62.5% and averaging 29.7 points over the last 10 games for New Orleans.

LAST 10 GAMES: Nuggets: 7-3, averaging 115.7 points, 45.4 rebounds, 27.3 assists, 7.5 steals and 4.9 blocks per game while shooting 48.1% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 111.7 points on 47.2% shooting.

Pelicans: 5-5, averaging 115.9 points, 50.1 rebounds, 26.2 assists, eight steals and 4.2 blocks per game while shooting 48.9% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 111.5 points on 44.8% shooting.

INJURIES: Nuggets: Jamal Murray: out for season (knee), Will Barton: out (hamstring), Monte Morris: out (hamstring).

Pelicans: James Johnson: out (adductor), Nickeil Alexander-Walker: out (ankle), Steven Adams: out (toe), Josh Hart: out (thumb).

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