NEW ORLEANS - After sitting out two games with a mild concussion, Anthony Davis used a first-half confrontation with Byron Mullens to spur him to a career-high 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks and power the New Orleans Hornets to a 107-99 victory Friday night over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Davis, who scored 18 points in the final 27 minutes, got tangled up with Mullens on a rebound with 2:58 left in the first half, and the two had to be separated at halfcourt. The NBA's top draft pick seemed to perk up after the tussle, scoring on three consecutive possessions and then scoring the Hornets' first 11 points of the second half.
Ryan Anderson added a team-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and rookie guard Brian Roberts added 16 for the Hornets. The Bobcats (1-3) were paced by Ben Gordon's game-high 34 points.
The Bobcats used a 9-2 run to start the third quarter to cut the New Orleans lead to 61-58, but Davis responded with nine straight to put the Hornets back up 70-58. Davis did it with a dunk off a no-look feed from Greivis Vasquez, two rebound follows and a drive down the lane on which he lost the handle but still managed to kiss the ball off the glass while being knocked to the floor.
The offensive explosion was a tonic for the Hornets (3-2), who scored a franchise-low 62 points in a Wednesday night loss to Philadelphia. The Hornets had more field goals at halftime (24) than they did in the entire game against the 76ers (23).
Davis and Mullens tangled under the basket in the second quarter. Mullens was charged with a flagrant foul and Davis drew a technical, but the confrontation seemed to light a fire under the rookie.
After missing the two foul shots courtesy of the flagrant, Davis scored on three consecutive possessions with a pair of right-hand drives and a 10-foot jumper from the right baseline, giving him 11 points for the half.
The Bobcats stayed within range due to the shooting of Gordon, who came off the bench to score 19 points in just 16 minutes. Gordon was 8-of-12 from the floor, all but one from the perimeter, to keep the Bobcats within 59-49 at the half.
Notes: Hornets coach Monty Williams said the return of Davis from a two-game absence due to a mild concussion settled his rotation. He wanted to see Davis showcase his "energy and defense." "Offensively, he's just going to get better over time because he works at it," Williams said. "He's a diligent worker. You just want him to go out there and play and not worry about anything else outside of following our game plan." ... Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez had 36 assists but 14 turnovers as the Hornets split their first four games. "He can't average four to five turnovers a game," Williams said. "That's something that's unacceptable for any point guard, and he understands that." ... Center Bismack Biyombo started in place of Brendan Haywood (family emergency) for the Bobcats.... Williams said he was very surprised by the firing of Lakers coach Mike Brown. "It's unfortunate that he only got five games and probably never had his (full) team to practice," Williams said. "Dwight (Howard) didn't start practicing till late, and Kobe (Bryant) hasn't practiced in a long time, and (Steve) Nash is out. It's unfortunate because Mike's a really good coach. Any time a guy loses a job, whether it's a player or a coach, you're reminded of how fragile the business is."