NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - Anthony Davis scores a new season-high - 44 points - and grabs 18 rebounds to will the New Orleans Pelicans to an impressive 118-114 victory Wednesday night over the Oklahoma City Thunder, who previously had the best record in the Western Conference.
“It’s a big win for us,” Davis said. Not just for that reason, but we’ve got to take care of home court. We’ve been going back and forth. Win one, lose one. We’ve got to pull a string of wins together and of course it started tonight."
The win didn’t come easy as New Orleans almost let the game slip away in the final minute. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Paul George each scored layups to cut the Pelicans lead down to three. New Orleans great defense and rebounding is what ultimately sealed the victory.
“We made a lot of good plays,” Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said. We had two crucial turnovers there at the end that really hurt us. In the end, when we had to have the two stops we came up with two great stops. We were great getting the ball inside. I think anytime you can score 74 points in the paint you’re getting the ball to the basket."
What’s even more impressive is that New Orleans were without key players like Nikola Mirotic and Elfrid Payton, who were sidelined with injuries. That opened the door for other players to step up, like rookie point guard Frank Jackson who was called up from the G-League on Tuesday.
“It did a lot,” Jackson said about how the G-League helped with his performance Wednesday night. It slowed the game down for me and I was able to get a rhythm and be myself and be comfortable. It allowed me to get reps."
Leading the league in games played so far this season, New Orleans will get a much deserved, rare three-day break before having to host the Miami Heat on Sunday.
“We need it,” Pelicans forward Julius Randle said. Several back-to-backs with one day off, two days off. This will be a good break for us in the schedule. I’m excited to get home, play with my son, and just relax for a little bit."
Anthony Davis currently leads the league in minutes played and when asked about his heavy workload and how he’s feeling physically, Davis referenced his youth.
“Whenever they ask me to go in the game, I make sure I go in,” Davis said. There has been games where I’ll come right out at the end of the third quarter and go back in with 10 minutes left. I’m young, I’m 25 years-old, so ask me about five years from now."