Los Angeles: Los Angeles forward Anthony Davis shrugged off the boos that greeted his return to New Orleans on Wednesday, scoring 41 points to power the Lakers to a 114-110 NBA victory over the Pelicans.
“Man it feels so good,” said Davis, who finished his night by grabbing an attempted inbounds pass from New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday with 4.2 seconds left and then sinking two free throws to close out the come-from-behind win.
Los Angeles had trailed by as many as 16 early in the third quarter but opened the fourth on a 9-0 scoring run as they trimmed the deficit to one point.
Kyle Kuzma’s three-pointer knotted the score at 91-91, but the Pelicans pushed their lead back to four points before Davis returned from treatment on his right elbow and stuffed a dunk off a pass from LeBron James.
The Lakers took the lead for good when Kuzma drained a three-pointer to make it 111-109 with 1:07 to play.
“They made shot after shot, big shots,” said Davis, who was booed by Pelicans fans in the opening introductions and every time he touched the ball thereafter. “We showed our resiliency tonight and we were able to get the win.”
Davis, who had been booed by Pels fans last year when he tried to engineer a trade from the club — a move that finally happened in the off-season, said he was prepared for the reaction.
“I just tried to play through it and calm my nerves and play basketball,” he said.
He had plenty of support from his Lakers team-mates and that included James.
“We understood,” said James, who scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and handed out 11 assists. “Any time you go back to a place where you made a mark… you want to come back and play well and you want to win.”
In doing so, the Lakers won their ninth straight and improved their league-leading record to 16-2.
Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving didn’t make it back to Boston for a scheduled rematch with his former team.
He cast a long shadow at TD Garden, but it was Boston guard Kemba Walker who starred in the Celtics’ 121-110 triumph.
The game would have been Irving’s first in Boston since he departed the Celtics as a free agent in the off season.
But he missed a seventh straight contest with a shoulder injury — an absence greeted with scepticism by many Boston fans who chanted “Where is Kyrie?” and “Kyrie Sucks!” as the contest got under way.
Around the arena, fans carried signs comparing Irving unfavourably with Walker — who was back in action five days after he was stretchered off with a neck injury after a scary collision in a loss at Denver.
Walker, who took over Irving’s job in Boston, scored a season-high 39 points.
That included 13 in the third quarter, when Boston rallied from an eight-point deficit with 10:05 to play in the period.
“I was making some shots,” Walker said. “My team-mates did a great job of getting me open. It was a great night.”
Jaylen Brown scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Jayson Tatum added 16 points for the Celtics, who remained unbeaten in seven home games this season.
The Nets led 83-82 with 3:13 remaining in the third, but Boston scored the next nine points. The Celtics took a 104-101 lead into the fourth and ruthlessly pulled away.
In Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers ground out a 121-119 victory over the Grizzlies to stretch their win streak to seven games.
In a game that featured 16 ties and 21 lead changes, Montrezl Harrell tipped in team-mate Lou Williams’ missed shot with 2.3 seconds remaining to give the Clippers the victory.
“Playing harder,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of how Los Angeles managed to rally from 10 points down with 6:40 left to play.
“We don’t panic, we keep running our stuff,” Rivers said. “We got enough stops, we’re a gritty basketball team.”
Harrell and Williams led the Clippers with 24 points apiece. Star forward Kawhi Leonard sat out with “injury management” of his sore left knee on the second night of a back-to-back.
76ers stay unbeaten
The Philadelphia 76ers remained unbeaten at home, improving to 8-0 at Wells Fargo Center with a 97-91 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Joel Embiid bounced back from an embarrassing scoreless performance in Monday’s loss at Toronto, scoring 33 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
Embiid, who had missed all 11 shots from the field on Monday and gone 0-for-3 from the free throw line, seemed determined to make amends.
He finished the first quarter with six points and eight rebounds and had secured his 10th double-double of the season early in the second period. — AFP