On Sunday, the New Orleans Pelicans won their fourth straight game in a 121-106 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Jose Alvarado had a career-best eight three-pointers to cap a crowd-pleasing 38-point outing.
In the first quarter, with the Pelicans losing by 14 points, Alvarado, a high-energy fan favorite whose performance has dramatically exceeded expectations since going undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2021, stepped off the bench and instantly scored eight points during an 11-1 New Orleans rally.
And it was just the start of a performance that saw fans serenading him with shouts that substituted “Jose” for “Ole” in the soccer crowd style.
Alvarado made 12 out of 19 shots, and only three of his 11 3-point attempts were unsuccessful. Additionally, he scored on powerful driving floaters over noticeably larger opponents in the lane. Teammates hugged Alvarado as the audience stood to their feet and shouted wildly when he left the game.
Zion Williamson scored twenty-five points. Although limited to fewer than 14 minutes due to foul trouble, Jonas Valanciunas contributed 13 points. Instead of Valanciunas, Willy Hernangomez played over 20 minutes and replied with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Trey Murphy contributed 12 points, a 27-foot 3-pointer, and a pair of driving dunks to the Pelicans’ ninth victory in 11 games despite playing without Brandon Ingram for the fourth straight game.
The Nuggets, who had won four straight games before their most recent loss, were led by Nikola Jokic, who finished with 32 points and 16 rebounds. Jamal Murray added 18 points for Denver, while Aaron Gordon scored 19.
Within the opening nine minutes, Jokic scored 13 points. His end-to-end layup while being fouled and two subsequent free throws gave Denver a quick 30-16 lead.
However, just after Jokic left the game, Alvarado entered and scored two 3-pointers and a driving layup to help the Pelicans cut the deficit to 31-27 at the end of the first period.
By halftime, Denver was ahead 60-59 because of Jokic’s 21 points and Alvarado’s 19.