Behind the hot shooting of Jordan Hamilton and Quincy Miller, the Denver Nuggets sure didn’t look like the No. 22 seed as tournament play began at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Hamilton scored 18 points in the first quarter, Miller added 12 in the third quarter and the Nuggets advanced to the Round of 16 with a 87-82 win over the 11th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.
The Nuggets, who lost all three games in preliminary play, will face the No. 6 seed Toronto Raptors on Thursday at 4 p.m. MT.
Behind Hamilton quick start, Denver led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter and had a 15-point advantage in the third before the Pelicans made a charge.
New Orleans went on a 17-3 run to close within a point early in the fourth quarter, but the Nuggets responded with a 12-2 surge to push the lead back to double figures.
Hamilton, who missed Tuesday’s game to attend a cousin’s funeral in Los Angeles, finished with 23 points, four rebounds and two steals. He scored 15 total points in his first two summer-league games.
“It’s been tough,” Hamilton told NBA TV after the game. “The few games before, it (his cousin’s death) was on my mind. I just had to play through it. Once I got a chance to spend time with my family and talk to them, I felt a lot better coming back to summer league. That's why I had a pretty good performance.”
Miller, who has been working on his outside shooting all summer, hit all five of his 3-point attempts and finished with 17 points. Erick Green, a second-round pick in last month’s draft, added 14 for Denver.
The Nuggets finished 12-for-22 from 3-point range and 20-of-22 from the free-throw line.