LOS ANGELES • Anthony Davis top-scored once more but the New Orleans Pelicans were still left looking for their first win of the National Basketball Association season after a 117-113 defeat by the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Davis has been in scintillating form for the Pelicans (0-4) this season, scoring 50 points and 45 points respectively in his team's first two defeats.
The 23-year-old followed it up with 35 more on Tuesday but once again the talented power forward's best efforts were an exercise in futility as the Pelicans' defence crumbled.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE
We're not worried about the offensive part. We scored 113 points. It's defence where we've got to become better.
ANTHONY DAVIS, New Orleans forward, frustrated by the narrow loss and the Pelicans' inability to win a game this season.
An unhappy Davis criticised his team's on-court communication following the loss, blaming mental fragility which allowed the Bucks to squeeze home.
"We had too many mental breakdowns," he said.
"We're not talking out there, and therefore, we have mental breakdowns, which leads to easy layups at the basket and open shots.
"We're not worried about the offensive part. We scored 113 points. It's defence where we've got to become better."
Davis' total of 35 points saw him lead all scorers once again. His tally included 17 of 18 from the foul line. He also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry bemoaned the Bucks' ability to score from close range.
"At the end of the night, they got almost 60 points in the paint," he said.
"You've got to make them into a jump-shooting team. We can't keep playing from behind. We can't keep playing uphill all the time."
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was the hero for the visitors with 24 points while Jabari Parker added 21 points at the Smoothie King Centre.
Antetokounmpo missed his first five three-point attempts but eventually settled. His long-range effort in the fourth quarter put his team up 117-112 to seal the game.
"It just shows confidence that he believes he can make it, we all believe he can make it," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said of Antetokounmpo.
"He made a big three for us. As a pitcher who gives up a home run, you have to forget what happened on the last couple, and he did.
"He showed the growth and he was able to step up and knock down a big three."