NEW ORLEANS (AP) — If not for Anthony Davis’ determination to dominate inside for most of his 40 minutes on the court, the New Orleans Pelicans could have been blown out by the New York Knicks.
Davis scored a season-high 43 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and New Orleans overcame an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat New York 129-124 on Friday night.
“It felt like a grind,” Davis said. “Usually when I have those numbers, we’re up 12, 15, 20. … But they were up damn near the whole game. We just had to fight back and I was just trying to do my part.”
Julius Randle had 19 points and 11 rebounds, including a crucial put-back of Davis’ missed free throw to make it 124-121 with 1:23 left.
“Julius saved me when I missed two free throws at the end,” Davis said. “When I missed (the second one), I kind of put my head down a little bit and I seen a blue jersey flying in. So when he made it, I said, ‘Thank you.’ I don’t know where he came from, but wherever he came from, I appreciate it.”
After Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a 3 for the tie, Holiday hit from deep to widen New Orleans’ lead to six with 35 seconds left.
Holiday overcame a shaky, turnover-plagued start to finish with 24 points and 10 assists. His late heroics included a rebound of his own miss inside the final two minutes, after which he dribbled out to the perimeter and fed an alley-oop lob to Davis.
“He missed a lot of bunnies at the start of the game and he didn’t let it take away from his aggressiveness,” Randle said about Holiday. “He just kept going. He made huge shots and plays down the stretch.”
The Knicks fell to a fourth straight loss after controlling nearly all but the final six minutes of the game.
Hardaway scored 30 points, and Trey Burke had 24 on 10-fo-13 shooting for the Knicks. New York led by as many as 19 points in the first half before losing for the sixth time in seven games.
Emmanuel Mudiay added 19 points. The Knicks shot 49 percent (48 of 98) but were outrebounded 54-44 and allowed the Pelicans to snag seven offensive rebounds and score eight second-chance points in the fourth quarter.
“We just couldn’t come up with those rebounds at the end,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “We get them to miss the shot, but we don’t come up with the loose ball. That happened multiple times down the stretch.”
Knicks: Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier each scored 11 points. … Center Mitchell Robinson, who is from the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette, had seven points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. …
Pelicans: Point guard Elfrid Payton returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a sprained right ankle, only to fracture a finger in his left hand after eight minutes on the court. He did not return to the game and missed all three of his shots before his latest injury. … Nikola Mirotic had 12 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans. … The Pelicans missed 24 of 34 3-point attempts and turned the ball over 15 times. … New Orleans scored 68 points in the paint.
Fizdale elected to start the 6-foot-5 Trier in place of 6-9 forward Noah Vonleh on the wing. He said change had more to do with his curiosity about how that smaller lineup would play together than trying to create specific matchups against New Orleans. The Knicks played at a faster pace and surpassed their 106 points-per-game average with nearly eight minutes left. That showing apparently earned the lineup another look, despite the loss.
“After tonight I can’t switch this one up,” Fizdale said. “I have to give them a chance to see if they can keep some consistency.”
Davis said he and Randle were determined to get into the paint for shots and rebounds late when the Knicks remained with a smaller lineup.
“I really hate settling against smaller guys, so I just tried taking it inside, trying to get Julius to do the same thing,” Davis said. “There was nobody who could stop both of us on the inside. We just tried to make an effort to get down low and just punish them.”
Knicks: Wrap up a three-game trip in Orlando on Sunday night.
Pelicans: Host Denver on Saturday night.
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