While Russell Westbrook's fourth consecutive triple-double rightfully got most of the attention on a crazy NBA night, the Thunder's biggest threat in the standings, the New Orleans Pelicans, also had a star player go nuts in a key victory. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans past the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday with 39 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks on his first game back since missing time with a shoulder injury. Ho hum.
Davis didn't show any signs of lingering physical problems in his almost 42 minutes on the court, torching a physical Pistons' front line near the basket.
''I told coach, 'Don't take me out of the game,'" Davis told John Reid of the Times Picayune. "I had so much energy tonight. I loved being back on the floor with my teammates."
The Pelicans needed him out there too, as Omer Asik and Dante Cunningham struggled with their shot, going a combined 2-12 from the floor while Eric Gordon managed just four points on five shots.
Davis carried the team for most of the night and also came through at the end of the game, scoring two of the Pelicans' last three field goals on mid-range jumper. On the last play of the game, he disrupted a Reggie Jackson potential game-tying three, showcasing all the ways he can impact a game.
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The Pistons are fighting for the final playoff spot in the East and challenged New Orleans, with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond combining to log 26 points, 33 rebounds and seven blocks and Jackson and Jodie Meeks providing scoring from the perimeter. They started out the game better and even led by double digits at one points before Davis took over. Once that happened, they couldn't sustain their performance.
''He had one of the most well-rounded games I have ever seen, defensively, offensively, hitting shots, (and) affecting the game in multiple ways," said Pistons veteran forward Anthony Tolliver. "He is a special player."
The Pelicans, who have been ravaged by injuries not only to Davis but also to starting point guard Jrue Holiday and sixth man Ryan Anderson, are determined to stay on the playoff hunt. They are only one game back from the Thunder in the standings. With Davis back, they have an answer to Russell Westbrook, their own star who can will them into the postseason with incredible performances. The battle for the eighth spot in the West just got a lot more fun now that The Brow is healthy.