Anthony Davis returned to the lineup Friday night and had the best game of his young career, scoring 23 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking five shots in the New Orleans Hornets' 107-99 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, had missed the Hornets' previous two contests after sustaining a concussion last Friday against Utah. Fellow rookie Austin Rivers, taken by New Orleans with the 10th overall selection, had four points and four assists after sitting out Wednesday's 77-62 loss to Philadelphia with a sprained finger.
"We had fun this is what we do, this is what we love to do," Davis said.
Ryan Anderson made five 3-pointers en route to 25 points for the Hornets, who improved to 3-2 on the young season. Brian Roberts and Al-Farouq Aminu tallied 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Ben Gordon had 34 points to pace the Bobcats, who have lost three in a row since opening the season with a win over the Indiana Pacers. Ramon Sessions and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who played with Davis at Kentucky, added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
"I just tried to be aggressive while I was out there," Gordon said. "My teammates did a good job of finding me on various plays. The bigs did a solid job of setting various screens allowing me to get some space and I was able to score some points."
Neither team led by more than four in a tight first quarter that featured four lead changes and five ties. Roberts' jumper with 4.1 seconds left gave the Hornets a 24-21 edge.
New Orleans started to create some distance with a big second stanza. Holding a 47-42 lead with over four minutes remaining, the Hornets went on a 12-5 run. Davis tallied six points during the flurry that Roger Mason Jr. capped with three free throws for a 59-47 margin.
Kemba Walker stopped the spurt with a driving layup, but New Orleans held a 59-49 margin at the break.
The Bobcats scored seven straight points early in the third period to make it a 61-58 contest.
Davis responded in a big way for the Hornets. The No. 1 overall pick tallied the next nine points to give the home team a 70-58 lead with 5:42 left.
New Orleans took a 78-69 edge into the fourth. Charlotte never got closer than five in the final frame.
Charlotte and New Orleans split a pair of meetings last season ... Walker had 11 points and six assists ... The Hornets led by as many as 14 ... The Bobcats turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 17 New Orleans points.