Published February 07, 2017
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Anthony Davis cradled the ball in his left hand, nodding emphatically and hollering triumphantly toward the crowd. The fans responded to Davis' intensity by rising to their feet and raising their decibel level, too.
The emotional release came moments after Davis secured a rebound in a crowd of players in the paint, forcing Phoenix to foul him with 29 seconds left. The Pelicans' 6-foot-11 All-Star then hit the first two of six made free throws in the final half-minute, capping a 34-point performance that helped New Orleans snap a four-game skid with a 111-106 win over the Suns on Monday night.
''When we play hard and play tough, we tend to overcome a lot of stuff,'' said Davis, who finished with nine rebounds and five blocked shots. ''It's not every day where I come out and let out emotions. It just felt right.''
Holiday scored 30 points, capped by his dazzling dribble drive for a finger roll and clutch step-back 3 in the last minute-and-a-half.
''The last 2:55, Jrue Holiday was dominant,'' Suns coach Earl Watson said. ''Jrue was attacking the basket. The step-back was a big shot.''
If Davis and Holiday ''can get sixty-four every night, we'll be in good shape,'' Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. ''I like that formula. I just thought Jrue was really aggressive and I thought AD did a really good job of letting the game come to him. I didn't think he really forced anything.''
Davis' full arsenal of moves was on display on the offensive end. There were turnaround jumpers, even over double teams. There was a twisting, one-handed, put-back dunk as he cut under the hoop. He hit driving layups and leaners and even a crucial 3 in the middle of the fourth quarter when New Orleans trailed by four.
E'Twaun Moore scored 12 points for the Pelicans, who led by as many as 10 in the first half but found themselves behind for much of the fourth quarter until Davis and Holiday took over late.
T.J. Warren scored 20 points for the Suns. Tyson Chandler had 12 rebounds and 11 points. Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe and Leandro Barbosa each added 14 points for Phoenix, which dropped its second straight, in part because of poor 3-point shooting. Phoenix missed 22 of 27 shots from deep, with Booker missing seven of eight.
After scoring only eight and 17 fourth-quarter points in its previous two games - both losses - New Orleans showed signs of another late collapse when it went without a point for the first three-and-a-half minutes of the final period.
Moore's short floater ended the drought, tying it at 79. Then Davis and Holiday change the game, combining for 27 points during the final 7:23.
''It was on us to go out and execute and do most of the scoring in the fourth quarter, especially when it gets close,'' Davis said. ''We've got to do a better job of in a sense taking over the game, going out there and making plays for ourselves and each other, and we did that tonight.''
Suns: Booker was assessed a technical foul after yelling at officials for not calling a foul after his fast-break layup attempt had been swatted over the baseline by Davis. ... G Ronnie Price began a second 10-day contract and was activated for the game, while Derrick Jones Jr. was inactive. Price did not play.
Pelicans: G Tyreke Evans left with a left ankle sprain in the second quarter. He did not score and had four rebounds in nine minutes. ... C Alexis Ajinca did not play for a 12th straight game. Before tip-off, the 7-foot-2 Frenchman, now in his ninth NBA season, said he would favor a trade to a team that would play him more. In the meantime, he said, he is staying in shape and supporting his teammates. The trade deadline is Feb. 23. ... F-C Terrence Jones fouled out with 10 minutes to go and was replaced at that point by Davis, who wound up playing 40:29.
Suns: Visit Memphis on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: Host Utah on Wednesday night.