Basketball: Pelicans' Davis soars with a career-high 59 points

Career-high points plus 20 rebounds against Pistons set his Pelicans up for play-off push

WASHINGTON • Anthony Davis scored a career-high 59 points and grabbed 20 rebounds on Sunday in one of the National Basketball Association (NBA) league's most dominating performances, powering the New Orleans Pelicans over hosts Detroit Pistons 111-106.

On a day when LeBron James powered the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 115-92 rout of Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Davis stole the show with an effort for the ages.

The 22-year-old forward scored eight points in the first quarter, 18 in the second, 14 more in the third and 19 in the fourth with the game still in doubt, to produce the most points by any NBA player in a game this season.


Anthony Davis of New Orleans shooting during their 111-106 win over Detroit at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. They are 5-1/2 games behind Houston for the last Western Conference play-off spot but are determined to close the gap. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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  • New Orleans guard Anthony Davis knocked down 59 points, the highest by any player so far this season. 

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  • He also grabbed 20 boards to become only the third player since 1983 with at least 50 points and 20 rebounds in a game.

"You just feel like you're really locked in, and the rim is really big," he told reporters in Detroit.

"Like I said, (it was) like any shot you put up is going in. But you're just locked in. You feel like you want the ball at all times. Any time you touch it, it's gonna go up. That's how I felt tonight.

"They were going in, so when they keep going in, you get more and more locked in. Then your team-mates have fun with it and get locked in as well."

"We play hard, play great defence, play with a lot of energy. We're just clicking on all cylinders right now."

Davis became only the third NBA player since 1983 with 50 points and 20 rebounds in a game, the first since Chris Webber had 51 points and 26 rebounds in 2001.

Shaquille O'Neal had a career-high 61 points and 23 rebounds in a 2000 game.

"You don't really appreciate it until afterwards, the magnitude at which he played and some of the things that he did," said coach Alvin Gentry, who was on the Warriors' bench the past season when Klay Thompson scored 37 points in a quarter.

"AD's a great mid-range shooter. And if he gets into a rhythm, things like that can happen."

Davis connected on 24-of-34 shots from the floor and still managed to pass off four assists and block a shot. He made both three-pointers he attempted and went nine of 10 from the free-throw line.

"I just came out with a lot of energy and played very well, shot real well," he said.

"My team-mates did a great job of setting me up, getting me the ball so I could score.

"I'm going to live it up tonight and hopefully I can do the same thing again."

Davis is doing everything he can to keep the magic going. "I told the equipment manager to 'give me the exact same things you gave me today, practice jersey, everything'," he said.

At 22-33, the Pelicans are 51/2 games behind the Houston Rockets for the last play-off spot in the Western Conference, but Davis says New Orleans are ready for a late-season surge.

"A little tired but happy we got that win. It's very important," he said.

"We just try to come out and play with a lot of energy. We're trying to make a push to get in the play-offs."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2016, with the headline 'DAVIS SOARS FOR AN EPIC 59'. Print Edition | Subscribe