The New Orleans Pelicans, who haven't had an answer for Anthony Davis in their two encounters this season, will try to limit their former star's scoring binges when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Davis is averaging 43.5 points in the two meetings. The former Pelican delivered a 46-point, 13-rebound effort in a 123-113 Lakers win in the last matchup, Jan. 3 at Los Angeles.
Davis also scored 41 points and collected nine rebounds in 114-110 victory at New Orleans on Nov. 27. A late steal by Davis secured the decision.
On Sunday, the Lakers extended their winning streak to five games by edging the Boston Celtics 114-112 in Los Angeles. Davis had 32 points and 13 rebounds, and LeBron James finished with 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. James also hit the winning bucket for the Lakers, who avenged an earlier beatdown by the Celtics in Boston.
"Every game is its own challenge, and we knew this was going to be a playoff-type of atmosphere today," James said. "One, because of the rivalry. Two, because of how well they played against us in Boston. They beat the hell out of us there. And then three, just the simple fact that two teams that have aspirations of holding that trophy up at the end of the season.
"We knew what we getting ourselves into, and they knew what they were getting themselves into, and it was a great game for both teams."
The Lakers overcame Jayson Tatum matching his career high of 41 points. However, they held him to four points in the fourth quarter. Davis credited Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
"KCP came in with that pressure and put the pressure on Tatum to make some tough shots, and he did, but he forced him into some shots that he probably didn't want to take," Davis said.
Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson will be facing the Lakers for the first time, as he was recovering from a knee injury during the previous contests.
Williamson, who has scored at least 20 points in eight consecutive games, sparked the Pelicans with 28 points on 13-of-20 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in a 115-101 win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
Jrue Holiday had 23 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds for the Pelicans, who have won five of their past six games. Rookie Nicolo Melli equaled his career best with 20 points, converting 6 of 7 3-point attempts, while All-Star forward and former Laker Brandon Ingram finished with 17 points.
New Orleans wiped out a 10-point halftime deficit and outscored Golden State 69-45 in the second half. Williamson helped initiate the second-half run and also provided some inspiration in the locker room at halftime.
"He basically just said, 'Hey, let's go, we gotta play the way we are capable of playing. We have to some kinda way establish some consistency on how we are going to push the play and how we play,'" Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said, according to NBA.com. "He isn't your typical 19-year-old. He's a very mature kid, very respectful of his teammates, and they are respectful to him as well.
"He is all about winning, just winning."
--Field Level Media