When the New Orleans lost All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for the season to a torn Achilles, some may have wondered how the Pelicans' other All-Star big man would fare without him. As Monday night's game against the Phoenix Suns proved, Anthony Davis is more than holding his own in carrying the load for New Orleans.
Davis was in an amazing zone last night, netting 53 points, 18 rebounds and blocked five shots in a 125-116 victory. The Pelicans have run off six straight wins and are 7-5 since losing Cousins. But there's more to be said about Davis' monster game against the Suns.
He has scored no fewer than 27 points in a game during this win streak, scoring at least 38 five times and more than 40 four times. Additionally, this was the third 50-point game in Davis' career. By the time he hit his 21st free throw last night, the Suns had to put 6-foot-8 rookie Josh Jackson on Davis because veterans Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Alex Len had all fouled out.
* NBA.com/Stats: Relive every basket from Davis' big night
Davis became the first player to record 50 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in a game since Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo had 52 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocks in the Buffalo Braves' 116-109 loss to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 22, 1974. Davis' 50-point game also helped the NBA at large, marking the 12th 50-point game in the league this season.
Top 5 seasons, most 50-point games
Season | Number of 50-point games
1961-62 | 57
1962-63 | 34
2006-07 | 18
2016-17 | 14
1960-61 | 14
Over his last six games, Anthony Davis is averaging 41.5 ppg and 15 rpg on 54.2 percent shooting. The last player to post similar numbers in a six-game span was McAdoo, who averaged 41.8 ppg and 16.0 rpg on 61.5 percent shooting in March of 1975.
Last night's performance by Davis left many practically speechless, including his coach, Alvin Gentry.
“He’s just playing great basketball. I don’t know what else to say about it," Gentry said. "I just think that he’s dominating on both ends. He’s carrying the load, offensively. Rebounding the basketball. He’s just playing really good basketball.”
“I talked to Josh Jackson when he had 50," Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said. "He was like ‘He has 50?’ I was like ‘He be killing y’all. All your bigs is on the bench.’ I mean that’s Anthony. Like I said, thank you. Thank you Anthony.”
Davis said getting Phoenix's big men in trouble early helped pave the way for his big night.
"I just wanted to hang around the rim as much as possible, knowing I had the size advantage," Davis said. "(I) tried to take advantage of them. The first couple of shots went in. You know we were struggling on defense, trying to get back in transition, and then (they were) making shots as well. The second half we picked up defensively and got back. (We) slowed Devin Booker down a little bit, and we were able to come out on top.”
Per the Pelicans, last night's victory marked the sixth time this season the team has come back from at least a 17-point hole. Additionally, the team's six-game win streak is its longest since 2011. The win moved the Pelicans within 1 1/2 games of the San Antonio Spurs for No. 4 in the Western Conference and two games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 3 spot.
"That’s what we’re thinking about. That’s how we’re playing. We’re not worrying about anything else. We’re taking it a game at a time, and just trying to make our way up the ladder," Davis said.
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