Payton’s return helps Pelicans win without Davis

NEW ORLEANS — Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton returned from the broken hand that sidelined him for about six weeks and scored nine points and had six assists in a 123-114 win over Minnesota on Monday night.

New Orleans was without leading scorer and rebounder Anthony Davis, who was ill and unable to play. Jahlil Okafor started in Davis’ place and had seven points and seven rebounds.

Payton had missed 22 games since fracturing a finger on his left hand against the New York Knicks on Nov. 16. That was his first game back from a right ankle sprain that sidelined him nine games.

Entering Monday, he had played in just six games, averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds.

Payton was signed as a free agent this past offseason and has assumed the role vacated by Rajon Rondo when he left for the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

The Pelicans have now won six of the seven games in which Payton has played. They are 11-20 when he’s sidelined.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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