Denver, CO – The Nuggets got a much-improved effort from much of the roster but still couldn’t overcome a slew of fouls, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans 99-92 Sunday night.

“Better effort, definitely. When I look at the stats sheet, it’s kind of crazy,” said head coach Brian Shaw about the loss. “Points in the paint, 46-42 us. Second-chance points, 20 to eight, us. Fast-break points, 19 to seven, us. We shot 18 more shots than they did.”

Danilo Gallinari led the way for Denver with 21 points on 7-18 shooting. Randy Foye, who got the start Sunday, chipped in with 19 points, and Will Barton added 16 points and ten rebounds off the bench.

The game was even at halftime, and the Nuggets hung in there during the third quarter behind a lineup of Gallinari, Barton, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Hickson (who was Denver’s de facto center in this one), and a combination of Foye and rookie guard Gary Harris.

A particular stretch late in the third quarter illustrated just how big an impact Barton has had on the team in his brief time in Denver. There was a two-minute stretch late in the quarter in which he had a nice finish at the rim for an and-one, made a nice cut underneath for an easy slam, and then snagged a defensive rebound down low and converted an easy lay-in. Not only does the 24-year-old have a motor, but he’s shown a nice ability to finished down low and a knack for jumping passing lanes and cutting to the hoop at the right time.

And of course, Gallinari’s buzzer-beating half court shot as the third wound down was just the cherry on top of another nice game out of him.

Combined with Foye’s shot-making (and boy was it nice to see him get going, considering that he’s guy who wanted to stay here and always plays hard), the third was probably included Denver’s best five minute stretch in a month.

Shaw rode that same lineup into the fourth, but the Nuggets started losing ground steadily mid-way into the final quarter. Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried were curiously quiet throughout the game, though no time was it more noticeable than when New Orleans was pulling away late in the game.

Faried finished with just three points, though he did get some tough boards in the fourth, and Lawson ended the game with five points and eleven assists, but only attempted six field goals.

After the game Shaw, who spoke before the game about how he wanted his point guard to shoot more, talked about Lawson’s hesitance to look for his own shot.

“I have to continue to figure out how to get Ty going, being more aggressive offensively tonight. He only took six shots,” said Shaw. “And get Kenneth going. Those two are our best players, and we’ve got to get them to play better.”

For New Orleans, Tyreke Evans finished with 22 points, and Eric Gordon added 18.

The loss was the Nuggets tenth straight at home. They’ll have a chance to snap that streak Tuesday against the against the Milwaukee Bucks before heading back out on the road.

Tip-off for Tuesday is set for 7 p.m.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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