The sliding New Orleans Pelicans staved off a seventh straight home loss Sunday evening, outlasting the woeful Orlando Magic 100-92.
Anthony Davis was once again the undisputed star of the injury-depleted Pelicans, racking up 22 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots in just under 42 minutes on the floor. His rebound count was a career-high for the second-year forward, and marked his 20th double-double of the season.
Davis’ aerial maneuvers and showy, though restrained, play has brought the Arena crowd to its feet time and again this season, and Sunday night was no exception. Davis’ size, maneuverability and ability makes him a danger around the rim during any game — especially against an Orlando Magic squad that has settled into the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
However, Davis was passed over to be a starter in this year’s NBA All-Star Game, to be held in New Orleans just three weeks from now. Asked by Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune/Nola.com if anything on Davis’ résumé does not scream All-Star, Pelicans Head Coach Monty Williams said there wasn’t.
“I think if he hasn’t done enough, I don’t know what else you can do,” Williams said. “Every night he carries our team. Even when he doesn’t have a great offensive night, he’s there on defense; he’s rebounding, blocking shots. When the moment was there tonight, he took over. And that’s what All-Stars do.”
All-Star Game starters are selected by fan voting, and Davis finished seventh. However, he can still make the Western Conference team as a reserve — bench players are selected by team coaches.
Davis wasn’t alone on the floor, of course. Swingman Tyreke Evans, who missed the previous game with an illness and who was listed as day-to-day up until tipoff, put up 23 points of his own. Evans dropped in seven baskets from the field and sunk 9-of-11 free throws.
The Magic kept it interesting, however, climbing back in the third quarter and closing to within four points with just over two minutes to play in the game. It was the 14th consecutive time the Pelicans had been outscored in the third quarter this season, including all 13 games they’ve played so far in 2014.
The Pelicans (18-25) travel to Cleveland Monday night.
- The Pelicans tied a season-high for points scored off turnovers — New Orleans picked up 30 points off 17 Orlando turnovers. The Magic scored 17 points off of 14 New Orleans turnovers.
- The Pelicans are still without big man Ryan Anderson, who is out indefinitely with a herniated disc. Anderson (who came from Orlando in a 2012 trade) still leads the team with 67 three-pointers made this season.
- The Pelicans are also without Guard Jrue Holiday, who has a stress fracture in his right tibia, and F/C Jason Smith, who suffered injury to cartilage in his right knee in the Jan. 15 game against Houston.