NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Anthony Davis is scoring less lately and couldn’t be happier about it.
Davis had 23 points and 18 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans won their fourth straight game, 104-92 over the New York Knicks on Friday night.
“I could score two points and if we win, that’s fine,” Davis said. “Everybody knows their role by now. Everybody’s playing very well. We’re just playing for each other and playing together.”
There have been 10 games this season in which Davis scored between 31 and 50 points in a loss. His high is 28 points during New Orleans’ current winning streak.
“It’s been fun for us. Guys are making shots and guys are making the right passes,” Davis said. “We have guys who are able to get their shots and defenses are confused now because everybody’s making shots. When we have that balanced scoring, it makes it easier on all of us.”
Pelicans reserve guard Tyreke Evans scored 16 points, his best output in seven games since returning from right knee surgery last season. Jrue Holiday had 12 points and 11 assists to help New Orleans win for the fifth time in six games.
New Orleans had six players score 10 or more, including rookie Buddy Hield and reserve guard E’Twaun Moore with 12 apiece.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and 13 rebounds, but couldn’t prevent the Knicks from dropping their third straight.
“We’ve got to kind of re-evaluate kind of where we’re at as a team right now,” Anthony said. “The different kind of schemes that we’re seeing against us, we’ve got to be able to adjust to that and react to that. We’ve just got to play better. And just defensively I think we’ve got to get in synch a little bit more.”
Kristaps Porzingis had 21 points and 12 rebounds, but the Knicks shot just 37.6 percent (35 of 93).
Derrick Rose added 20 points - one of only three Knicks to score more than eight points. But Rose didn’t sound as concerned with the Knicks’ offense as how they played on the other end.
“I don’t even want to talk about offense,” Rose said. “If we came out and played defense I think it would be a totally different game. I mean, we’re giving them everything - 3-point line, pull-ups - I mean, whatever they want.”
With Davis at center in relatively small lineup that has worked well for the Pelicans lately, New Orleans pushed the pace from the outset, scoring 30 fast-break points and shooting 44.7 percent (38 of 85), including 12 of 29 from 3-point range. Playing that way also allowed the Pelicans to switch who was defending whom quickly and often, which seemed to disrupt the Knicks’ rhythm.
“We were doing a really good job defensively and we were switching everything,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.
The Pelicans led by 68-53 after a 13-0 run early in the second half during which the Knicks missed 11 straight shots, including four misses by Anthony.
Derrick Rose made a difficult driving layup as he was fouled by Davis. That briefly stunted New Orleans’ momentum, and the Knicks pulled as close a seven points late in the third quarter when Justin Holiday’s 3 made it 76-69.
Solomon Hill responded with his second 3 of the game to make it 79-69 heading to the fourth quarter. Statistically, the Knicks were virtually doomed at that point, falling to 1-14 when trailing after three quarters.
Although Rose sounded disgusted with the way the Knicks have played during their skid, he offered an even-handed perspective when asked about the Kicks being .500 through 32 games.
“Don’t get me wrong. We’re blessed to be in this position, but we’ve got to catch ourselves,” Rose said. “We’re slipping.”
Knicks: Shooting guard Courtney Lee, who is averaging 10 points per game this season, missed his second straight game with a sore right wrist. … Joakim Noah was limited by early foul trouble and also had trouble guarding Davis. Noah did not score in 16 minutes of action. … The Knicks fell to 0-2 on their three-game trip and 5-11 away from Madison Square Garden.
Pelicans: New Orleans went 4-1 on a five-game home stand that began last week. The Pelicans play six of their next seven on the road, where they have gone 4-11 this season. … The Knicks were the first of 11 straight Eastern Conference opponents for the Pelicans.
Knicks: Visit Houston on Saturday night.
Pelicans: Visit Cleveland on Monday night.
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