Minus Cousins, Pelicans top Nuggets 115-90 behind Davis’ 31

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) battles for a rebound with New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) and forward Dante Cunningham (33) and forward Anthony Davis (23) in the third quarter at the Pepsi Center. (Photo: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

DENVER, Co. (AP) – Anthony Davis had 31 points and 15 rebounds, helping to compensate for the absence of injured DeMarcus Cousins, and the New Orleans Pelicans boosted their flickering playoff hopes by beating the Denver Nuggets 115-90 on Sunday night.

The Nuggets began the night clinging to a one-game lead over Portland for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers played later at the Los Angeles Lakers. New Orleans is in 11th place in the West with nine games remaining and faces long odds in trying to overtake Dallas, Portland and Denver for the final playoff berth.

Nevertheless, against the Nuggets, the Pelicans overcame the absence of Cousins, who sat out because of a right ankle injury sustained during Friday’s loss at Houston.

Davis had his 45th double-double of the season and finished with 30 or more points for the 32nd time.

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