SALT LAKE CITY — Forward Anthony Davis scored a career-high 43 points and pulled down 14 rebounds Saturday night as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Utah Jazz 106-94.
Davis hit 16 of 23 shots, and point guard Jrue Holiday tallied 19 points and eight assists for New Orleans (7-5), which had been blown out by Denver on Friday.
Gordon Hayward led Utah (5-9) with 31 points, and Trey Burke added 20.
Davis tallied seven points and five rebounds in the first quarter as the Pelicans led 25-23, and the Pelicans worked their size in the paint even more in the second quarter.
The Utah big men weren’t able to rotate quickly enough to defend center Alexis Ajinca and Davis, who added 14 more points, sparking New Orleans out to a 19-point lead.
The Pelicans went into halftime up 57-40, behind Davis’ 21 points and six rebounds.
“All of our guards did a great job of finding me and making sure I got the ball in my sweet spot,” Davis said. “Then it was my job to knock them down.”
Utah made some halftime adjustments defensively and was able to slow down the Pelicans in the paint during the third quarter. Davis still scored 11 points.
“I think we got more aggressive defensively, especially on their pick-and-rolls,” Hayward said. “We hedged, blitzed a couple of them and forced some turnovers. Just played with more energy, I think.”
The Jazz found a spark offensively in the third quarter and were able to force a few turnovers and run some transition offense. Hayward scored 13 points in the third quarter, and forward Derrick Favors added 11.
New Orleans led 77-72 going into the final quarter and gave themselves some breathing room in the opening minutes behind a few quick buckets from Davis.
Utah cut the lead to nine points off a jump shot by Burke with just over three minutes left. But the Jazz had no answer for Davis and the New Orleans post game.
“We had the lead and let them back in,” Holiday said. “But we fought back and executed at the end of the game.”
New Orleans coach Monty Williams was very impressed with Davis’ performance, especially after the Pelicans had played Friday.
“I told him at the end of the game I don’t take that for granted,” Williams said. “A guy who can go for 43 and 14 off a back-to-back … To have that kind of energy, it was a special night for him.”
NOTES: Last season, Utah F Gordon Hayward averaged 18.8 points, 4 rebounds and 8.5 assists in four games against the New Orleans Pelicans. PF Derrick Favors averaged 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. … The Jazz got their first win of the season last year against the Pelicans at home. … Anthony Davis has had seven 20-10 games, and three with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. … Pelicans G Jimmer Fredette played at BYU, located about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City. He won the National Player of the Year award in 2012 when he was a senior at BYU.
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