Davis powers Pelicans to 135-98 rout of 76ers
NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis was on his way to what might have been a memorable — and unusual — statistical line before he came out for good with more than three minutes still left in the third quarter.
Not that he was complaining.
Davis had 13 points, nine rebounds and a career-high eight blocks, and the New Orleans Pelicans emphatically snapped a three-game skid with a 135-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
"You always want to play no matter how much you're winning by, how much time is left ... but I don't ever question coach's decision," Davis said. "We won and that's all that matters."
Had Davis grabbed one more rebound and blocked two more shots, he would have become the first player in the 26-year history of the franchise formerly called the Hornets to have blocks make up part of a triple-double. But there's a lot of season — and career — left for the 20-year-old star, and his teammates figure it's only a matter of time before Davis has a similar performance in a game close enough to merit his presence down the stretch.
"He'll get a quadruple double one of these days if you want to be honest," Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday said. "I kind of expect that from him. That's where a lot of pressure is kind of being put on him, but he can handle it."
Ryan Anderson scored 26 points— hitting six 3-pointers — in his return from a broken toe that sidelined him for New Orleans' first nine games. He scored 14 points in his first 14 minutes, helping the Pelicans build a 30-point lead in the first half.
"I told coach, 'Let me go, and if I'm not feeling it or if I'm feeling pretty gassed or something I'll let you know.' But I felt great," Anderson said.
Holiday had 14 points and 12 assists against the team that traded him for injured rookie big man Nerlens Noel during the first round of last summer's draft.
Tony Wroten led the Sixers with 19 points, but Philadelphia offered little resistance, allowing New Orleans to shoot 62 percent through three quarters, when the Pelicans led 103-66.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said Davis' blocks set the tone early because the Pelicans were effective converting those stops into 26 fast-break points.
"There were so many blocked shots ... it was similar to a volleyball game," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "They are all good athletes and whether it was drop-off passes or dunks, it was off they went. ... And you look at what Ryan Anderson does when he is back in the lineup."
The Pelicans finished shooting 60.5 percent and had eight players score in double figures. Eric Gordon scored 19 points, Tyreke Evans 15 and reserve point guard Brian Roberts added 14 and Austin Rivers 12.
Darius Morris scored a career-high 20 for Philadelphia, most coming in the second half when the game was out of reach. Spencer Hawes had 14 points, but made only four of 11 shots. The Sixers, who lost their second straight, shot 37.5 percent (24 of 64) through the first three quarters.
Thaddeus Young, who had 11 points, said the Pelicans "just did whatever they wanted to tonight."
Davis blocked five shots in the first quarter. One swat came from behind on Evan Turner's layup attempt, and the smack of Davis' hand on the ball could be heard across the court.
"We'd been slacking in the defensive category the past couple games, so it was just trying to make a statement on defense and get my team riled up to play defense," Davis said.
Anderson hit a pair of 3s and six of his first nine shots shortly after checking in.
Evans made his first five shots, including a driving layup as he was fouled by Hawes. Hawes then argued the call and was called for a technical foul, resulting in a four-point possession that gave New Orleans a 52-26 lead.
The Pelicans stretched their lead to 30 when Davis' free throws made it 61-31, and the Sixers never got closer than 21 points after that.
NOTES: A delay of game warning was called on Sixers coach Brett Brown for grabbing a deflected pass as it went out of bound before New Orleans' Jason Smith could try to save it. Smith and Pelicans coach Monty Williams both protested, by the Sixers were permitted to retain possession and Hawes hit a 3 moments later. ... Philadelphia's Daniel Orton was called for a technical foul after throwing Pelicans center Jason Smith to the floor in the second half.