- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 4, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The New Orleans Pelicans’ playoff hopes got a lift from E’Twaun Moore and Anthony Davis’ return to form.

Moore scored 30 points, and Davis had 28 points and 12 rebounds to help the Pelicans rout the Memphis Grizzlies 123-95 on Wednesday night.

Davis struggled in the previous two games after twisting an ankle in a loss to Portland on March 27. In subsequent losses to Cleveland and Oklahoma City, he averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while making 39 percent of his shots. For the season, Davis has averaged 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds while making 53.5 percent of his shots.

On Wednesday he made 8 of 13 field goals, 11 of 13 free throws and had three blocks and two steals.

“I was trying to get back to how I was playing, get the team back,” Davis said. “I know they feed off my energy, so I just try to come out with a lot of energy on both ends of the floor and try to lead us to a win. It was fun, but we’ve got to do the same thing next time we play.”

The eighth-place Pelicans ended a season-worst, four-game losing streak and increased their lead over idle Denver to a full game for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have four games remaining, and Denver has the tiebreaker after winning the season series.

Moore made a career-high seven 3-pointers in 10 attempts. Nikola Mirotic added 25 points, and Jrue Holiday had 15 for New Orleans.

The Pelicans made 16 of 36 3-pointers and the Grizzlies made 10 of 31.

“I thought we did what we needed to tonight,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We got off to a great start. I thought our ball movement was good again. I thought (Davis) was very aggressive at the start of the game. We shot the ball well as a team. We needed to see some 3s go in.”

MarShon Brooks scored 25 points, and Ivan Rabb had 16 for the Grizzlies. They have the second-worst record in the NBA.

Davis had 14 points and five rebounds as New Orleans took a 32-23 lead after one quarter.

Moore scored 13 second-quarter points as the Pelicans increased their lead to 65-53 at halftime.

Mirotic scored seven points as New Orleans began the third quarter with an 18-6 run to take command with an 83-59 lead. The Pelicans led by as many as 32 points in the fourth quarter.

“I think they stepped it up,” Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “They’re playing with a lot on the line. They understood the importance of this game and how they needed to win. Look at where they are in the standings. This was a must-win basketball game for them. They gave us their best shot.”


Grizzlies: Memphis lost for the 26th time in its last 29 nine games and for the 31st time in its last 34 road games. … The Grizzlies fell behind 10-0 as they failed to score until Dillon Brooks made a jumper with 8:42 left in the first quarter.

Pelicans: Rajon Rondo had a game-high 13 assists. … The Pelicans head out for their final road trip of the regular season, playing their next three games away from home. It’s their first multiple-game road trip in four weeks. … Mirotic replaced Emeka Okafor in the starting lineup. … The Pelicans won at home for the second time against the Grizzlies, who won the two meetings in Memphis.


Pelicans G Ian Clark, who had emerged as one of the team’s top reserves, left the game for good in the second quarter after injuring his right ankle on a drive to the basket. X-rays were negative and Gentry said more would be known after an MRI on the ankle on Thursday. Clark had scored in double figures in seven of his previous 12 games.


Grizzlies: Memphis hosts Sacramento on Friday.

Pelicans: New Orleans visits Phoenix on Friday.


More AP basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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