PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nerlens Noel had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Michael Carter-Williams scored 22 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 96-81 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
The Sixers never trailed in only their third home win of the season. They put away the short-handed Pelicans in a hurry, making 10 of their first 14 shots and racing to a 16-point lead in the first quarter.
New Orleans played without center Anthony Davis and guard Jrue Holiday. Davis, averaging 24.2 points and 10.4 rebounds, sat out with a sprained left toe suffered late in Wednesday night's win at Detroit. Holiday, a former 76ers All-Star guard, missed a second straight game with right ankle inflammation.
Alexis Ajinca had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Pelicans and Eric Gordon also scored 16.
Holiday was traded to the Sixers for Noel in a 2013 draft-night deal. Noel made 7 of 10 shots with five blocked shots and two steals in perhaps his best all-around game this season.
Noel has struggled in his first season after sitting out last year with a torn ACL. He has flashed promise at times of the raw ability that made the Sixers believe they could build their forlorn franchise around him.
With Davis out of the lineup, Noel was fantastic, sinking his first four shots for 11 points in the first half. Carter-Williams scored 12 to help the Sixers take a 50-47 lead.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said before the game he wanted Noel to become more assertive in the offense. Brown said Noel struggled with "trying to be a good teammate and not appear to be selfish" when he should be clearing position and have an arm up for the ball.
"Players that need coaches to call plays for him all the time, that is too great a responsibility for me. It's on a point guard to feel it, and it's most definitely on me to realize he needs a touch, but it's well and truly dropped on his doorstep," he said. "You create your own plays. Run the floor, stamp your foot, post up and then go, and we'll play off you."
The Sixers shot 63 percent (15 of 24) and scored a first-quarter high 33 points. They had a season-low two turnovers in the first half and had none between the 1:18 mark of the first through 3:40 in the third.
The Sixers never stopped in building a big lead: Carter-Williams and Luc Mbah a Moute hit consecutive 3s in the third to stretch the lead to 64-51.
Pelicans: Pelicans G Tyreke Evans is from nearby Chester, Pennsylvania and needed about 30 tickets for friends and family. ... The Pelicans are 7-15 on the road. ... Omer Asik grabbed 14 rebounds.
76ers: Former 76ers star and coach Maurice Cheeks attended the game as a fan in a seat in the seventh row. Cheeks' No. 10 is retired. ... The 76ers beat the Pacers without George Hill and the Cavaliers without LeBron James and Kevin Love in their other two home wins. ... Larry Drew II made his NBA debut. ... Robert Covington scored 18 points.
Pelicans: Visit Toronto on Sunday.
76ers: Visit Detroit on Saturday.
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