NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis will find out officially Thursday if NBA coaches voted him into his first All-Star Game.
The way his coach, Monty Williams, sees it, the league should launch a criminal investigation if the vote doesn’t go in favor of the New Orleans Pelicans’ second-year forward.
The young superstar poured in 22 points, grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds and blocked seven shots Sunday in a 100-92 victory over the Orlando Magic. Davis, 20, served notice to the rest of the league that he feels very comfortable dominating the game on both ends of the court.
“If he hasn’t done enough, I don’t know what else you can do,” Williams said after the Pelicans (18-25) won for the third time in four games. “Every night he carries our team. Even when he doesn’t have a great offensive night, he’s there on defense, he rebounding, he’s blocking shots. When the moment was there tonight, he took over, and that’s what All-Stars do.”
The Pelicans saw their 10-point, fourth-quarter lead nearly evaporate, and they were clinging to 92-88 advantage with 2:55 left.
That was when Davis took over. He took a feed from guard Tyreke Evans on the baseline and slammed home a dunk over Magic forward Glen Davis. Then, after guard Brian Roberts hit a runner in the lane to put New Orleans up 96-90, the Pelicans forward made another monster, right-handed jam over Glen Davis’ head, and the lead was 98-90 with 1:24 left.
Asked if he thought he did enough to merit his first All-Star berth, Davis said he was not focusing on that. In 36 games this season, Davis is averaging 20.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks.
“I’m just going to keep playing hard, and hopefully they see my energy and effort, and hopefully they decide to vote me in,” Davis said. “I’m not really worried about that. We’re not where we want to be record-wise. That’s what I’ve got to focus on.
“If (an All-Star berth) happens, it happens. I’m trying to get more wins for the team.”
Evans, rebounding from an illness that kept him out of a road victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, scored 13 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. He also had seven rebounds and seven assists, and the Magic could not keep him from getting to the basket.
“He has that ability,” Williams said of Evans. “He’s just got to continue to improve. One thing he does better than most guys in the NBA is he gets to the basket. He’s got to understand that when he goes and when three or four guys show up, he’s got to find (someone else).”
The Pelicans forced the Magic (12-33) into 17 turnovers. New Orleans also pulled down 16 offensive rebounds and turned them into 14 second-chance points. That blunted Orlando forward Arron Afflalo’s game-high 25 points.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn had said before the game he was worried about Anthony Davis running wild against his injury-riddled front line, which again was without center Nikola Vucevic (concussion).
“I prefer not to be proven correct, if that’s OK,” Vaughn said. “(Davis is) a great talent, and he … was trouble for us throughout the course of the night.”
It took Anthony Davis less than two quarters to compile his 20th double-double of the season, scoring 10 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking four shots while leading New Orleans to 54-44 halftime lead.
Anthony Davis said he came out more aggressively on the boards after having just 14 total rebounds the previous two games.
“I just tried to bring that energy and effort and get the team going early,” he said. “That’s what I got to do. It starts with me.”
Orlando forward Kyle O’Quinn said, “He’s athletic and long. He’s very active. We’ve slowed him down before on the offensive glass, but tonight he had his way with us.”
NOTES: Pelicans F Anthony Davis is on pace to become the first NBA player since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000 to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. … Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said Davis has made steady improvement from year one. “His ability to make the perimeter shot coupled with his length and athleticism to get to the rim make him a pretty special talent,” Vaughn said. … The Magic fell to 2-13 in January after losing their eighth consecutive road game.
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