Pelicans.com postgame: Pelicans 94, Mavericks 92
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
DALLAS – Flying alley oops no one else could reach. Off-the-dribble moves that allowed him to breeze past bulkier defenders for layups. Cuts to open space in the paint, where teammates found him for more easy baskets.
Anthony Davis’ expanding offensive repertoire was on display Monday night in Dallas, where the second-year power forward provided a glimpse of what might be in store this season. The 20-year-old piled up 25 points in just 26 minutes. Unfortunately for Davis, he collided with another New Orleans player during a scramble for a loose ball in the second half; he sat the rest of the game but appeared to be fine.
Brian Roberts picked up the slack following Davis’ departure from the game, though, racking up all of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Roberts’ monstrous final period helped carry the Pelicans to a second straight late comeback win in the state of Texas.
The Pelicans (2-0 preseason) shook off a sluggish first half with a barrage of three-pointers after intermission. Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Morrow all got hot from the perimeter, turning the momentum and again enabling New Orleans to prevail after trailing for chunks of the game. Overall, the visitors went a blistering 10-for-15 from the three-point arc, including 8-for-11 in the second half (73 percent).
Holiday credited the Pelicans’ defense with sparking the offensive awakening.
“I think it kind of started with our defense,” Holiday said of the surge. “We started to get into guys (and pressure Mavericks with the ball) a little bit more at the beginning of the half. We were doing well on defense and then coming down and finding open guys. We had a lot of guys making big threes, and then (Roberts) came in hit big shots. It felt really good.”
A total of five Pelicans reached double digits in scoring, most memorably Davis (11-for-19 from the field overall) and Roberts (5-for-8 from field, 5-for-6 from line in fourth quarter). After tallying 21 points Saturday at Houston, Davis followed up with a performance that gave the Mavericks’ interior defenders fits all night. The Kentucky product threw down four dunks, dropped in five layups and had two nice right-handed hook shots off post moves.
As Dallas radio play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein put it during Davis’ 17-point first half: “Anthony Davis is looking every bit like the No. 1 overall draft pick that he was in 2012.”
Davis compiled consecutive games of 20-plus points once during his rookie NBA season, on April 5 and April 7. He’s already accomplished that in the first two 2013 preseason games, despite not playing heavy minutes as Monty Williams doles out time to various bigs.
After Monday’s game, Williams praised Davis’ offseason commitment to becoming a better player, attributing some of his effectiveness to increased confidence on the floor.
“I think he is not worried about making mistakes,” Williams said. “He’s attacking when he needs to and he’s worked on his game and that gives you a level of confidence like none other. When you work as hard as he did this summer you find yourself on the floor and things may be a bit easier than it was the year before.”