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Davis' OT rejection helps Pelicans edge Nuggets

The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- He turns 21 on Tuesday, but second-year New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis is morphing quickly into the man-child of the NBA.

Davis scored 32 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked six shots -- including a critical layup attempt by point guard Ty Lawson in overtime -- to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 111-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday at the Smoothie King Center.

In leading the Pelicans to their third consecutive victory, Davis posted monster numbers befitting NBA royalty. No player this season scored at least 30 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked five shots in a single game until Davis did it Sunday. Davis also was the first player in franchise history to post those numbers.

Of all of those gaudy stats, Davis might have been happiest about his pin-block against Lawson, who beat guard Austin Rivers down the right side of the lane and looked headed to a layup that could have tied the game at 106 with 75 seconds left in overtime.

"It's definitely up there," Davis said of the block. "That was a big play. He'd been getting shots in the paint all night, but at the end of the game, you just make basketball plays. I don't think I was supposed to go, but I just tried to make a basketball play. Coach always tell you, 'If you're going to do something like that, you'd better go get it.'"

Davis didn't just get it -- he gobbled it up.

"Ty got to the hole and (Davis) protects the rim," Denver coach Brian Shaw said. "He's the best shot-blocker in the league this year. Ty made a heck of a play. (Davis) made an even better play defensively."

Pelicans coach Monty Williams said he was chatting with Davis before the game about not just blocking shots but vacuuming them up the way Patrick Ewing used to for the New York Knicks.

"That's just special," Williams said. "That kind of defensive play is the stuff that gives you so much confidence -- when you know you have a guy to cover up on the back side. It's like playing with David Robinson. You can get up into a guy and be aggressive because you know Dave's going to erase the mistake that you make."

The Pelicans (26-37) trailed 94-90 with 1:20 left in regulation but sent the game into overtime on two free throws by guard Brian Roberts and then a nervy, 15-foot jumper by guard Anthony Morrow with nine-10ths of a second left.

The final play in regulation was supposed to go to Davis, but he was overplayed by forward Kenneth Faried, and Morrow ended up with the ball near the top of the key, battling toe to toe with Lawson. Morrow dribbled it and shot the ball from the foul line over Lawson's outstretched arms.

"I drove hard to get to that spot I wanted to be in," Morrow said. "I knew Ty was a little bit shorter, so I wanted to shoot over him, and I was able to get my shot off."

In overtime, the Pelicans outscored the Nuggets 17-13. New Orleans forward Tyreke Evans, who scored seven of his 20 points in overtime, tied the game for the final time with a driving layup. After reserve guard Aaron Brooks missed on the other end, Davis made two free throws with 1:22 left to give New Orleans the lead for good, 106-104.

Davis grabbed six of his 17 rebounds in the five-minute overtime.

"I just tried to be aggressive," Davis said. "Tyreke kept telling me, 'Straight gas. We ain't stopping at no stores.' It was a big game, but the most important thing was we got the win."

After Davis' monster block, the Pelicans converted on the other end with Evans' scoop shot in the lane, building a 108-104 lead with 55.7 seconds left.

The Nuggets (27-35) got 22 points and 14 rebounds from Faried, 15 points and 12 assists from Lawson, and 15 points from Brooks, who scored 12 in the fourth quarter. It wasn't enough to overcome Denver's 27 turnovers.

"We started turning the ball over and they started just going to the offensive boards and crashing and got everything," Faried said.

That pretty much summed up Davis' night.

NOTES: Pelicans coach Monty Williams said he likes the way his team responded to an eight-game losing streak with back-to-back wins against the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. "We got contributions from a few guys," Williams said. "(G) Tyreke (Evans) has been able to score more. (G) Eric (Gordon) has been pretty balanced, and (PF Anthony Davis) has been really good. We need all of it to give ourselves a chance to win." ... Denver coach Brian Shaw is impressed by the way PG Ty Lawson expanded his offensive game. Lawson recorded a double-double for the 13th time in 19 games Sunday. "He puts in his work," Shaw said. "He actually has pretty decent form. His shot isn't broken. It's not the best part of his game, but it's something he works on every day and is getting better and better."
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