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NBA scores 2016: Anthony Davis is making the Pelicans dangerous again

Davis' 59-point, 20-rebound performance has the Pelicans rolling, plus the streaking Trail Blazers and everything else from NBA Sunday.

It had been too long since Anthony Davis had made us question what was possible on the basketball court. Sure, averaging 23.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, he was still playing great this season -- but when it comes to Anthony Davis, great just isn't good enough. He returned to form with an otherworldly performance against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, though. Davis had perhaps his best game ever with 59 points and 20 rebounds as he single-handedly led the New Orleans Pelicans to a 111-106 win.

The 59 points was a career high for Davis, and it also set a Pelicans franchise record and broke the scoring record in Detroit's Palace of Auburn Hills. He joined Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Webber as the only players since 1983 to score at least 50 points and grab at least 20 rebounds -- Davis and Shaq are the only two with at least 55 points and 20 rebounds in that period.

"Being in the history books with C-Webb and Shaq?" Davis told reporters after the game. "That's something special."

Special is exactly what it was. Davis scored from everywhere on Sunday, going 24 of 34 from the field, 2 of 2 from three-point land and 9 for 10 from the free throw line. He was 11 for 17 outside the paint, and was peppering the Detroit defense with mid-range jumpers. Aaron Baynes was tasked with guarding Davis for much of the night, and he didn't have the speed or athleticism to match Davis, who reminded everyone that he was once a point guard prospect before a growth spurt turned him into a positionless behemoth.

The Pistons put Andre Drummond on him down the stretch, but even that matchup was unfair. To his credit, Drummond did his best, but he was just a hare behind on every move Davis made. Because Davis was hitting from everywhere on the court, Drummond had to hedge out near the three-point line. But no matter what Drummond did, it was fruitless -- Davis beat him backdoor, he beat him with a step-back jumper, he even beat Drummond down low a few times. Drummond didn't stand a chance.

It was a preposterous evening for one of the NBA's best, and a reminder of how good Davis really is.

Going forward, the Pelicans aren't completely out of the playoff race yet. At 22-33, they're somehow only 5.5 games out of the eighth spot in the West. That's a lot of space to make up with only 27 games to play, but it's not out of the question. The Pelicans have won four of five games and Davis is starting to look like the savior he was anointed to be last season.

It has been a disappointing season for the Pelicans, who expected a new coach and an even better Davis to lead them to the playoffs for the second year in a row. Because the West isn't nearly as strong as it was last season, however, the Pelicans still have a fighting chance. And with Davis on the roster capable of doing what he did to the poor Pistons on any given night -- New Orleans could salvage what was once a nightmare season.

2 things we learned

The Portland Trail Blazers are the Warriors 2.0 and the rest of the West better watch out

The Utah Jazz seemed to have figured out how to slow down Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. They led 52-47 at the half and used a 10-2 run to build a 62-49 lead with 9:00 left in the third quarter. Lillard was struggling to find a groove and had only nine points. But a run from the Trail Blazers is almost as expected as a run from that team in Oakland now -- and Sunday's Blazers' run didn't disappoint. Lillard made four three-point shots in 1:31 to bring Portland right back into the game.

The Jazz, to their credit, hung tight with the Blazers even after Lillard's barrage. The teams with contrasting styles put on a show, each trying to will their method onto the game. The Blazers played with quick, Warriors-like urgency by firing shots from all parts of the court while the Jazz attempted to pound the ball into the paint -- Utah took only 16 threes compared to Portland's 32.

Neither team was able to pull away down the stretch -- they kept trading buckets. The Jazz attacked Lillard defensively and the Blazers went right at Rudy Gobert. But in the end, Lillard hit a layup and the Jazz turned it over, giving the Blazers a 115-111 win.

With the win, Portland moved to 29-27, which is seventh-best in the West and just a half-game behind the Mavericks for the sixth spot. After blowing out the Warriors on Friday, the Blazers look every bit like a team that could climb the West standings even more. Lillard's defense was a little shaky against the Jazz, but his 30 points and five assists coming in the clutch made the difference for a team that continues to find a way to win.

Oklahoma City hasn't earned the contender title

In the first game of the season, the Thunder beat San Antonio. Since then, they're 0-3 against the three clear contenders in the NBA, each time failing to pick up a decisive win against the NBA's uppermost tier. On Sunday, they fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, keeping it close for a quarter but falling behind for good when the Cavaliers made a run a few minutes into the third quarter.

There's reason to believe that the Thunder might even be the league's best chance to usurp the Golden State Warriors, thanks to athletic, versatile wings and the unbelievably good Kevin Durant. But though it's a small sample size, just three games, the Thunder haven't shown it. Randy Foye, a midseason trade acquisition who debuted Friday, can help the team improve just slightly, but mostly, the Thunder are who they are. With Durant's free agency looming, Oklahoma City has to make it happen now or risk watching it all fall apart for good.

- Tim Cato

Play of the night

Russell Westbrook throwing down as hard as he can will always be impressive, even when the Thunder lose.

4 fun things

Kobe Bryant fist-bumping Derrick Rose's son is too cute to be true.

Pau Gasol sent Bryant off in style by announcing him in the starting lineup.

An Oklahoma City fan told LeBron James to "Suck it up."

Trevor Booker threw down the nastiest of dunks on the Blazers.


Cavaliers 115, Thunder 92 (Fear the Sword recapWelcome to Loud City recap)

Pelicans 111, Pistons 106 (The Bird Writes recapDetroit Bad Boys recap)

Celtics 121, Nuggets 101 (Celtics Blog recap | Denver Stiffs recap)

Spurs 118, Suns 111 (Pounding the Rock recapBright Side of the Sun recap)

Hornets 104, Nets 96 (At the Hive recapNets Daily recap)

Pacers 105, Magic 102 (Indy Cornrows recapOrlando Pinstriped Post recap)

Raptors 98, Grizzlies 85 (Raptors HQ recapGrizzly Bear Blues recap)

Mavericks 129, 76ers 103 (Mavs Moneyball recapLiberty Ballers recap)

Bulls 126, Lakers 115 (Blog a Bull recapSilver Screen and Roll recap)

Blazers 115, Jazz 111 (Blazers' Edge recapSLC Dunk recap)