SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Although it wasn’t one of his better games, the mere presence of Anthony Davis made a major difference for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Eric Gordon hit six 3s and scored 24 points, Davis also had 24 and the Pelicans snapped a four-game skid by beating the Sacramento Kings 109-97 Wednesday night.
Davis missed the previous two games because of a bruised back and his status was questionable earlier in the day. His importance to the Pelicans is evident in their 0-5 record without him this season.
Davis wasn’t as sharp as normal, but he didn’t have to be the way his team played overall. He shot 8 of 23, but had 10 rebounds and two steals.
"He's our best player, our go-to guy," Ryan Anderson said. "We rely a lot on him. We have extra confidence when he's in there."
That confidence showed. The Pelicans tied a team record by making 16 3-pointers. Gordon was 6 for 12 from long range and New Orleans was 16 for 33 overall. Gordon was one 3-pointer short of tying his career high.
New Orleans led by 15 at halftime and used a 15-0 run in the third quarter to build the lead to 25 points. Its bench outscored the Kings 47-34.
"We really did a good job of moving the ball," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "We were locked in early."
Norris Cole scored a season-high 18 points and Anderson made four 3-pointers and scored 18 for the Pelicans, who had lost six of seven.
"Early in the game we had a little turnover bug in our game and gave them about 15 early possessions," Kings coach George Karl said. "We let the 3-ball get out of control. You can't be happy with your defence. But our offence was aprobably flater than normal. We have a personality at times of trusting our offence probably too much and not trying to trust the game of being dirty, doing dirty work or playing defence."
DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings. Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 10 assists.
The Kings have had a tendency all season to play uninspired ball against weaker teams. That trend was evident again against the Pelicans (12-27).
"I think every guy in this locker room knows why we lost tonight," Cousins said. "It wasn't because they are better team. Whatever the case may be. The only thing it was is that they played harder than us and with more energy at the beginning of the game."
Trailing by 28 early in the fourth period, Cousins scored 12 points as the Kings went on a 14-0 run that made it 95-81. A fastbreak layup by Cole ended the burst with 5:30 remaining, and 3-pointers by Gordon and Anderson helped the Pelicans secure the victory.
Cousins scored 16 points in the fourth when the Kings outscored New Orleans 32-19.
"At some stage you knew they were going to make a run. We knew they wouldn't lay down and die," Gentry said.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Anderson grew up a Kings fan in nearby El Dorado Hills. He played at Sleep Train Arena during his high school days when his Oak Ridge team captured a state championship in 2005.
Although he hasn't always played well in Sacramento, that wasn't the case this time. Anderson got going early, coming off the bench to score seven second-quarter points. He shot 7 of 12 overall and had two steals in 20 minutes.
"This is special to be around family and friends," Anderson said. "I grew up in this arena. There's a small-town feel to it. I love it here."
Pelicans: Tyreke Evans injured his right knee in the opening quarter and didn't play the remainder of the game. "His knee swelled up a bit. We'll just have to see what the situation is," Gentry said. . Kings guard Darren Collison and guard Jrue Holiday of New Orleans were former teammates at UCLA. . New Orleans committed only one turnover, made 8 of 16 3-pointers and led 59-44 at the half. The Pelicans finished with seven turnovers while the Kings had 18 that led to 22 points.
Kings: Sacramento fans brought their used athletic shoes to the game. The shoes will be recycled and contribute to the playing surface at the new downtown Golden 1 Center, where the team will play next season. . The Kings had six first-quarter turnovers that led to nine points and a 28-19 deficit. . Sacramento shot 6 of 23 on 3-pointers.
Pelicans: Host Charlotte on Friday.
Kings: Visit Utah on Thursday.