Pelicans.com postgame: Pelicans 100, Magic 92
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
The Western Conference head coaches are facing a deadline of 11 a.m. Tuesday (Central time) to cast their votes for the seven players they believe should be reserves in the Feb. 16 NBA All-Star Game. With that being said, Sunday was Anthony Davis' final opportunity to make an impression on the conference’s other 14 sideline bosses (as Davis' head coach, New Orleans' Monty Williams isn't allowed to vote for any of his own players).
Davis responded with one of the greatest performances of his brief two-year pro career, registering 22 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks. It was the first time during the 2013-14 season that any NBA player recorded at least 22-19-7 in those categories, as well as the only time in the 26-year history of the franchise that a player accomplished that stat line.
Davis’ compelling final argument for All-Star inclusion again demonstrated that even when he isn’t clicking offensively, the Kentucky product can still dramatically impact the game in a multitude of ways. Though he did finish with 22 points, he was just 9-for-21 from the field. After missing a few point-blank shots earlier in the game, Davis also provided Sunday’s highlight-reel play when he rose over Orlando’s Glen Davis and threw down a vicious dunk. After the Magic had pulled to within striking distance of the lead, the AD slam seemed to close the door on a possible Orlando comeback, in emphatic fashion.
“I had been missing layups all night, so I decided to just go up strong and tried to dunk it,” Davis said of the resounding dunk. “They were coming back. They were in the game. (The play) just energized the crowd and kind of deflated them a little bit. It got us going. So that was a big play, and that was what we needed.”
Playing again without the trio of starting point guard Jrue Holiday, starting center Jason Smith and second-leading scorer Ryan Anderson, the Pelicans (18-25) have often needed monstrous performances from Davis throughout this recent short-handed stretch. They finally received some good news in pregame when Tyreke Evans was available to play, after missing Friday’s game at Detroit due to illness. Not quite 100 percent health-wise but able to get back on the court, Evans also turned in one of his best games of 2013-14, racking up 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
“I just tried to get my wind back,” Evans said of playing in a game for the first time since Tuesday. “I went out there and did what I do best – attack the basket.”
Evans, whose voice sounded like he still has the remnants of a head cold, grinned and told nearby media members that it might be wise to not get too close to his locker area.
“I’m still a little sick,” Evans said, smiling. “Y’all might want to back up a little bit. But I’m getting better. I feel better. I felt good out there.”
New Orleans won its second straight game, posting consecutive victories for the first time since wins before and after Christmas against Sacramento and Denver. Davis said his focus right now is on trying to win more games, not on whether he’ll be chosen for the All-Star Game, which will be held here in New Orleans.
“I’m not really worried about that,” Davis said, when asked specifically about his potential All-Star selection. “I’m worried about winning. All-Star’s going to be there for the next X amount of years. We’re trying to focus on winning. We’re not where we want to be record-wise. I’m not really worried about (All-Star). If it happens, it happens. I’m trying to get more wins for the team.”