Davis, Evans carry Pelicans by Celtics in OT

New Orleans Pelicans forward Tyreke Evans (1) drives between Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass (30) and forward Jeff Green (8) during the second quarter at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans Sunday night.
Derick E. Hingle | USA Today Sports
New Orleans Pelicans forward Tyreke Evans (1) drives between Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass (30) and forward Jeff Green (8) during the second quarter at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans Sunday night.
Posted March 16, 2014, at 9:09 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS — Forward Anthony Davis recorded career highs with 40 points and 21 rebounds and guard Tyreke Evans scored five of his 26 points in overtime to carry the New Orleans Pelicans to a 121-120 victory over the Boston Celtics Sunday at the Smoothie King Center.

Just one game after setting his career high with 36 points in a loss to Portland, Davis made 14-of-22 from the field and all 12 of his free throws to set his personal high again. He has averaged 32.3 points and 14.3 rebounds over his last six games.

Guard Eric Gordon added two foul shots with 9.4 seconds left in overtime to provide a 121-117 edge for the Pelicans (27-39). Celtics forward Jeff Green hit a driving layup and made a free throw to make it 121-120 with 5.7 seconds left.

New Orleans inbounded the ball and ran out the clock without the Celtics fouling.

Boston forward Kris Humphries sent the game into overtime with a 20-foot fadeaway jumper from the right baseline as regulation time expired. Just 1.4 seconds earlier, Davis had given New Orleans a 112-110 lead — and seemingly the win — with an 18-foot jumper over Green.

With 4.9 seconds left in regulation, Green made three foul shots after being fouled behind the arc by forward Al-Farouq Aminu, tying the game at 110.

The Pelicans used a 18-5 run opening the fourth quarter to build a 102-89 lead with 5:33 left, but Boston responded with eight straight — including seven by Green — to close within 102-97 with 3:08 left. Green finished with a team-high 39.

Davis scored 12 third-quarter points to erase the Pelicans’ seven-point halftime deficit, and the game was tied 84 after three. Davis closed the period by finishing off an alley-oop feed from center Jeff Withey. The Pelicans also made all 11 of their free throws in the quarter.

The Celtics came into the game in an offensive funk. In three consecutive losses, they shot 35.7 percent from the field and 23.3 percent from 3-point range. But they got well quickly in racing to a 64-57 halftime lead. Green shredded the Pelicans’ perimeter defense, scoring 20 first-half points, including 3-of-4 from long range.

The Celtics made 24-of-45 field goal attempts (53 percent) in the first half — just five fewer field goals than they made in the entire game in an 87-80 home loss to Phoenix on Friday. The Celtics also had missed 18-of-21 3-pointers in the loss to the Suns, but they made 6-of-10 against the Pelicans in the first half.

Davis kept the Pelicans within striking distance with 14 first-half points, and Evans added 11. New Orleans led 38-35, but the Celtics ran off the next 10 points, five by reserve guard Chris Johnson.

After New Orleans regained a 49-47 lead, the Celtics went on a 17-6 run, with Green scoring 12.

NOTES: There is no doubt that Davis has made huge strides. He entered Sunday’s game against the Celtics with five consecutive games in which he had scored at least 28 points. But New Orleans coach Monty Williams said Davis has to play with a little more “focus.” “The last game (a 111-103 loss to Portland), he went for pump fakes against Dorell Wright, and it is something that the coaches had talked to him about,” Williams said. “He felt bad about that. It’s hard to complain when a guy goes for 36 (points) and nine (rebounds), but in order for him to maximize his potential, we have to help him and not let him slide in areas where he can get better.” … Boston coach Brad Stevens, the former Butler coach, said he gets pumped up for Selection Sunday. “It was great when you were in it and it was the worst when you weren’t,” Stevens said. … Stevens said he might bring G Avery Bradley back into the starting lineup on Monday at Dallas.

 

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