Pelicans.com postgame: Pelicans 99, Magic 95
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
JACKSONVILLE – Anthony Davis’ gaudy stat line Wednesday of 29 points, nine rebounds and four blocks didn’t even necessarily do justice to the second-year pro’s individual performance in his 31 minutes of playing time. Among his four blocks, two were rejections of Orlando perimeter shots, including the rare swat of an NBA three-pointer. Among Davis’ nine field goals, three were high-rising two-handed dunks that wowed fans and brought his Pelicans teammates on the sideline to their feet.
For the second straight game, Davis played one of his best games in his brief career as a pro, highlighting a New Orleans victory. The Pelicans improved to 3-0 in the preseason, with their No. 1 overall draft pick from 2012 excelling by scoring 20-plus points in every game. Also for a second straight game, Brian Roberts was big in the fourth quarter for the Pelicans, this time scoring 10 points, including going 5-for-5 on foul shots. Roberts racked up 17 points in the fourth quarter of Monday’s win at Dallas.
Davis, whose top scoring game as an NBA rookie was 28 points, exceeded that total Wednesday (though preseason numbers do not count in any official stats).
“He’s worked on his game,” Monty Williams said of the 6-foot-10 forward. “He spent a lot of time in the gym this summer to prepare for the things that he couldn’t do last year. And he’s only scratching the surface. He’s going to get better.”
Another excellent sign for Davis early in preseason has been his improvement in drawing fouls. The Kentucky product went 11-for-11 from the free-throw line Wednesday, part of the Pelicans’ 26-for-29 game there.
New Orleans wrapped up its preseason-opening three-game road trip with a perfect mark, getting progressively better on the defensive end with each contest. Orlando shot just 38.6 percent from the field and was held to 24 points or fewer in the first three quarters. The Pelicans began preseason Saturday by allowing 115 points in a narrow win at Houston.
“We know it’s preseason, but we’re not trying to treat it like that,” Davis said of the team’s approach. “We have to come out with a great mindset and great intensity. We want to carry this over to the season, and get this rolling when we play Indiana at home (on Oct. 30, the Pelicans’ regular season opener).”