Then, he exploded.
Davis tied his career high with 43 points against the Hawks on Friday, shooting 14 of 23 from the field. He also went 14 for 16 from the free-throw line, hit the only three pointer he attempted, and added 10 rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocks. Simply put, he was the Anthony Davis we became so comfortable watching last year.
The Pelicans fell to the Hawks 121–115 and dropped to 0–5, but thanks to Davis’s monster night they looked better than they had in their previous four contests.
After falling behind 58–47, New Orleans outscored Atlanta 32–31 in the second, and surged back in the fourth to outscore the Hawks again 36–32. Davis led the charge with 33 points in the second half as Eric Gordon, Luke Babbitt and Ish Smith played big minutes to help the Pelicans close the gap.
New Orleans entered Friday averaging 21 assisted baskets per game, and had 30 on Friday. It has been a rough go so far for the Pelicans, though. Injuries have hurt them early this season with Gordon, Kendrick Perkins, Norris Cole, Omer Asik, Quincy Pondexter and Tyreke Evans all either hampered or sidelined by various ailments.
With the Lakers beating the Nets 104–98, the Pelicans are the only 0–5 team in the Western Conference. They did look encouraging in the second half against the 6–1 Hawks. Next up is a visit to Dallas on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Perhaps Davis and Alvin Gentry’s Pelicans can build upon this after entering 2015–16 with high expectations.