Anthony Davis has six blocks, powers energetic effort
It was as if New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis said enough of this foundering.
Davis got the Pelicans off to a fast start and finished with a spectacular dunk that sealed the victory, as New Orleans ran away from the Charlotte Bobcats 105-84 Saturday night at the New Orleans Arena in getting their first win of the season.
“I know that we an play like that, with that kind of energy,” said coach Monty Williams. “That’s what leaves me scratching the little hair I have left when we play like we did in Orlando (a 110-90 loss Friday night).”
Davis continued his excellent play with 25 points, eight rebounds and career highs of five steals and six blocks to lead the way. He had a one-handed dunk off a lob by Brian Roberts that pushed the Pelicans’ lead to 93-73 with 5:54 left in the game.
The Pelicans held Charlotte to 37.5 percent shooting and blocked 18 shots. Centers Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma each blocked five shots to go with Davis’ total.
“We tried to lock down defensively,” Davis said. “When they came to the rim, we contested everything. We were talking more on defense. We had to get back to playing Pelicans basketball.”
One night after a listless performance at Orlando, the Pelicans showed they could sustain their intensity for an entire game.
Unlike that performance, and their season-opening fourth-quarter meltdown against Indiana, the Pelicans started out fast, held steady and ran away from the Bobcats at the end.
The Pelicans (1-2) had 30 assists. Tyreke Evans rebounded from 0-of-7 shooting against Orlando for a season-best 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds against Charlotte.
And point guard Jrue Holiday, called out for his lack of aggressiveness in the previous game, had 14 points and eight assists and helped key the defense. Roberts came off the bench with a hot hand - 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2 of 2 on 3-pointers, and 5 of 5 on free throws.
New Orleans took an 18-point first-quarter lead, led by 15 at halftime, then 15 at the end of the third quarter.
“Our plan at halftime was to get it down to 10 in the third quarter, and just go from there,” said Charlotte point guard Ramon Sessions, who tried to get his team back in the game with drives. “But we couldn’t get there.
“They’re real long on the front line, and Jason Smith set the tone early.”
Smith blocked the first shot attempt of the game by the Bobcats, and the energy and intensity flowed from there.
The third quarter ended the way it began, with New Orleans maintaining its sizeable lead. Davis began the quarter with a dunk off a pass from Eric Gordon. Midway through the quarter, Davis got his fifth steal, leading to a free throw and a 64-48 margin.
Poor shooting – 33.3 percent, including 1 of 7 on 3s, and 6 of 13 on free throws — prevented the Bobcats from getting close. The lead stayed in the 14- to 16-point range until Charlotte’s Anthony Tolliver made a 3-pointer at 3:07, bringing the Bobcats to 72-59.
However, Davis blocked Tolliver’s next 3-point attempt, and Evans made a three-point play. The quarter ended with New Orleans ahead 77-62.
New Orleans started the game aggressively, especially Davis. The Pelicans scored the first five points and led 11-2. Davis went backdoor for a layup, hit a 12-footer, made a putback and also blocked a shot.
When Gordon sank a jumper at 7:19, making the score 15-4, the Pelicans had scored on their first seven possessions. Consecutive baskets by Stiemsma gave the Pelicans a 24-10 margin. New Orleans continued to drive to the basket and get fouls or set up open shots, and the quarter ended with a healthy 33-15 lead.
When Evans drove for a basket 34 seconds into the second quarter, New Orleans had gone on a 7-0 run and taken a 22-point lead – 37-15.
Charlotte began chipping away, cutting the margin to 47-34 with 3:44 left in the half behind Sessions’ drives. However, Holiday sank a big 3 to stem the tide.