Evans scores 24 as Pelicans hold off Suns, 110-106
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Tyreke Evans countered Phoenix's three-guard lineup with several big plays of his own.
Evans scored 24 points, including eight straight for New Orleans in the final 2 minutes, and the Pelicans held off Phoenix 110-106 on Tuesday night to stop the Suns' winning streak at six games.
Evans showcased his ability to take advantage of smaller defenders by getting to the rim. Other times, he set his feet for jump shots. Both troubled the Suns, who dominated the Pelicans last season.
''That's the style we like to play,'' said Evans, who shot 8 of 20 from the field. ''I play like that most of the time.''
Anthony Davis had 19 points with a season-high 18 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half. Ryan Anderson (19 points) converted three of four 3-pointers.
''I think our guys got a lot of energy from this city tonight, and that's what I've been trying to explain to our fan base since I've been here,'' said Pelicans coach Monty Williams, now in his fifth season. ''To get that many people in our arena cheering for our guys down the stretch, knocking down buckets and getting stops, and have our people cheer for us gives our guys a good boost.''
The Pelicans made their last eight free throws after hitting only 10 of their previous 21 attempts. Evans was 7 of 10 overall.
Just as important was Dante Cunningham's steal of Goran Dragic's pass with 1:10 left and the Pelicans leading 102-100.
Cunningham jumped in front of an entry pass intended for Markieff Morris, leading to Evans' jumper with 49.9 left. After a layup by Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, Evans added a layup over Phoenix's smaller lineup.
The improving Pelicans (16-15) moved one game closer to the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings currently occupied by the Suns (18-15).
''Obviously, we don't want to talk about playoffs, but when it comes down to playoffs, this is big,'' Holiday said. ''We did not beat them at all last season. When it came down to the wire, it was our night.''
Dragic led Phoenix with 22 points. Bledsoe added 21, and Gerald Green scored 15 of his 17 in the first half.
''Tyreke was not going to shoot it, but we knew he was going to drive it,'' Green said. ''He's pretty crafty and we didn't do a good job on him.''
The Pelicans led by as many as 14 in the first quarter, paced by a quick start from Evans, who went 5 for 10 in the period.
Phoenix's 15-4 run midway through the third gave the Suns a 77-73 lead before Evans paced a late Pelicans rally.
''When you give a team a lot of confidence in their shooting, you give up easy,'' Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Suns: Phoenix's loss ended a four-game winning streak against New Orleans. The Suns are 8-3 over the last 11 games in the series, and 4-2 in New Orleans. ... Bledsoe attempted 12 of Phoenix's 19 free throws. He converted nine. ... The Suns, who lead the NBA in fast-break points, were held three under their average. ... Phoenix gave up 58 points in the paint.
Pelicans: New Orleans outrebounded the smaller Suns 49-38. ... Davis had his most rebounds since grabbing 21 on March 16 last season against Boston. ... Omer Asik scored 11 points, but missed five of six free throws. ... John Salmons missed the game for personal reasons, Williams said, adding he didn't expect the forward to return anytime soon.
Suns: Wednesday night at Oklahoma City.
Pelicans: Wednesday night at San Antonio.