Anthony Davis carried New Orleans on his back on Monday, scoring a season-high 53 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking five shots as the Pelicans overpowered the struggling Phoenix Suns 125-116.
Davis has spearheaded the Pelicans’ attack during a six-game winning streak – one of their longest in recent years – and over that time he is averaging more than 40 points a game.
Jrue Holiday scored 20 points for the Pelicans, whose season-best unbeaten run has pulled them into a tie with Portland for fifth place in the Western Conference despite being without all-star DeMarcus Cousins, who was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. The Pelicans are just 1.5 games back of third spot.
“Thank, you Anthony, for carrying us,” Holiday said. “Look at his numbers, man. He’s something else.”
The 24-year-old American Davis became the first player in NBA history to tally at least 50 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in a game as he delivered the second-best scoring performance of his six-year NBA career. He scored 59 points in a game on February 2016.
Davis also made clutch plays on defence, tipping away a loose ball from Suns’ Elfrid Payton with less than 40 seconds remaining in the fourth to help preserve a seven point lead in front of a crowd of 17,200 at the Smoothie King Center arena.
“I just wanted to hang around the rim as much as possible, knowing I had the size advantage,” Davis said.
Devin Booker had 40 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix, which lost its 10th straight. T.J. Warren added 23 points and Josh Jackson tallied 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who led by as many as 17 in the second quarter but fell behind for good with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Payton scored 16 points, and his layup pulled Phoenix within 116-114 with 2:29 left, but the Pelicans scored the next five points to ice the victory.
Curry’s Garden party
In New York, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combined for 47 points as the Golden State Warriors trampled all over another NBA opponent by beating the New York Knicks 125-111.
Thompson finished with 26, Curry added 21 and Kevin Durant tallied 22 points and nine rebounds for Golden State, which trailed by one at halftime before outscoring New York 39-18 in the third put the game out of reach at Madison Square Garden.
The Warriors improved to 3-0 since the all-star break and beat the Knicks for the eighth straight time.
This week marks the five-year anniversary of Curry’s memorable 54-point performance at Madison Square Garden.
Curry had plenty of help on Monday as the Warriors made 15 three-pointers and had a half dozen players in double figures.
Emmanuel Mudiay scored 20 points and Trey Burke had 18 for the Knicks.
Elsewhere, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry each scored 20 points, Serge Ibaka had 19 and the Toronto Raptors routed the Detroit Pistons 123-94 for their seventh win in eight games.
Pascal Siakam added 11 points as the Raptors improved to 25-5 at home, the best record in the league.