DENVER • Illness nearly sidelined Anthony Davis on Sunday, but his performance when he could play left the Denver Nuggets feeling ill.
Shaking off flu-like symptoms that kept him out for most of the game to score 27 points, he blocked four shots in the fourth quarter, helping the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Nuggets 130-125 in the National Basketball Associaiton.
Guard Tyreke Evans had 21 points and 10 assists, guard Jrue Holiday had 21 off the bench, and guard Eric Gordon scored 20 for the Pelicans (8-19).
The guards kept New Orleans in the game but Davis was the difference down the stretch. He received two bottles of intravenous drip before the game and put up 19 in the first quarter.
"The first quarter, in timeouts, if the cameras were on me they probably would have seen me about to throw up," the centre explained later. "I was about to throw up in the first timeout. When the first quarter was over I couldn't hold it."
He ran back to the locker room "and threw up a lot," coach Alvin Gentry said. He spent the second and third quarters getting two more bottles of drip so he could come back.
His return flipped the momentum to the Pelicans and spoilt a big night by Will Barton. The guard scored a career-high 32 points for Denver, who lost forwards Darrell Arthur (right knee soreness) and Danilo Gallinari (left ankle sprain).
Forward Kenneth Faried had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets (11-16), who gave up a season high in points.
Davis' dominance was magnified by his absence after he left in the final 30 seconds of the first quarter. The Nuggets scored 20 paint points and 43 overall in the second period to take a 74-67 half-time lead.
The two-time All-Star returned with 8min20sec remaining in the game and picked up where he left off. He scored two quick buckets to get the Pelicans to 109-108.
Barton hit his seventh three-pointer of the game to put Denver ahead 114-108, but New Orleans went on a 13-2 run to take the lead back. Davis blocked three shots in the final 1:49 of the game when the Pelicans pulled away.
Davis said he felt "good, kind of tired" when he returned.
"I wanted to leave it all for the last five minutes I was in. Leave it all on the floor and rest on the flight home," he said.