Bucks, Pelicans battle in Big Easy

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Pelicans resume their playoff push in the Western Conference Tuesday night when they welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to the Smoothie King Center.

The Pelicans trail the Oklahoma City Thunder by a half-game for the eighth and final postseason berth in the loaded Western Conference.

New Orleans had a three-game winning streak snapped on Sunday night thanks to a 118-111, double-overtime home loss to the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets withstood a superb performance from Anthony Davis, who flirted with a quadruple-double four days after turning 22. The All-Star center posted a line of 36 points, 14 rebounds, nine blocks and seven assists in a losing cause.

Tyreke Evans also filled the box score with 25 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost for just the third time in their last 12 games.

Davis hit a go-ahead 20-footer with 12.2 seconds showing, but the All-Star center got lost on a pick-and-roll and allowed an easy layup by Kenneth Faried with 4.3 ticks left.

Davis was long on a deep jumper at the buzzer, and another five minutes was in store after Will Barton buried a 3-pointer to knot things at 109-109 with 8.6 seconds remaining. Evans missed a contested shot on the right block at the buzzer.

New Orleans missed its first five shots of the second OT, and a Faried putback and Danilo Gallinari 3-pointer put the Nuggets in front to stay. An Eric Gordon turnover with New Orleans down by three inside the final minute gave way to a free throw contest, and the Nuggets held on from there.

"We got great looks and we just didn't execute," Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter said. "We didn't make the shots that we had drawn up and we were confident in those guys to take those shots. We just came up a little short."

The Pelicans head west starting Thursday in Phoenix, followed by stops against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Bucks have struggled of late with consecutive losses and seven setbacks in their last seven. Tuesday's game ends a three-game road trip.

On Saturday, Milwaukee fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 96-83.

Giannis Antetokounmpo ended with 19 points and six rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost eight in a row on the road. Khris Middleton and Zaza Pachulia contributed 17 and 14 points, respectively.

"We've been struggling a little bit, defensively getting stops," said Bucks coach Jason Kidd.

Milwaukee was without Michael Carter-Williams (ankle), Jared Dudley (back spasms) and Jerryd Bayless (ankle). Tyler Ennis made his first NBA start and finished with seven points and 11 assists.

Memphis led by as many as 13 in the second quarter before taking a 49-42 edge into the locker room. Ahead 63-58, the Grizzlies ended the third stanza on a 15-3 run.

Memphis led by as many as 19 in the fourth.

New Orleans has won four straight and seven of its last eight against the Bucks. Since New Orleans got a franchise, the Bucks have won just once in 13 tries and that was their first visit back in 2003.