NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis scored 29 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out five assists Friday night to pace the Pelicans to a 112-104 win over the Bucks.
Yet, it was what Anthony Morrow did off the bench that earned praise from his teammates and Milwaukee’s coach.
The reserve guard put up 12 points in the final pivotal quarter, hitting two of the three 3-pointers he put up while coming through with three assists in helping New Orleans (25-37) win for the second straight game.
“Yeah, I needed to bring it,” said Morrow, who finished with 16 points and four assists. “I challenged myself to bring it. I tried to do it defensively first and it carries over into the offense so that’s something that we’re getting used to doing.”
The Pelicans trailed Milwaukee 77-72 with 2:01 to play in the third quarter when Morrow’s contributions began in earnest.
He was subbed in for Eric Gordon and immediately came up with a steal. He rebounded a Davis miss and followed with a 16-foot jumper that started a 16-4 run that put New Orleans firmly in the lead.
“The game, I thought it was right there but we let Anthony Morrow get away from us,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. “He made some shots going down the stretch.”
It wasn’t just Morrow, however.
Small forward Tyreke Evans, inserted into the starting lineup five games ago, has responded since the change. And for the fourth game in a row, he put up at least 20 points, finishing with 25 points and seven assists.
He was slashing, shooting and making shots, putting the onus on the Bucks to figure out just how to stop him, Davis, Eric Gordon (12 points) or Brian Roberts (14 points).
“When he's playing like that, we're a tough team,” Davis said. “He's attacking, being aggressive. He's always saying, 'Step on the gas. We ain’t stopping at no stores or nothing.' We're on the gas all night. You can see it in his play.”
Davis might be onto something.
Friday was the second consecutive game the Pelicans scored at least 112 points and both times they walked away with the win.
As much as coach Monty Williams isn’t a fan of the pace, it might be what this athletic, youthful team needs. It certainly has helped to have Evans and Davis on the floor at the same time.
“It’s been fun,” Evans said. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be. We both like to play together. We both work hard. To see us both going like that, it just makes things better for our team.”
Still, as much as they contributed, it was the boost of Morrow off the bench that provided the gut punch that put the Pelicans over the top.
“We expect him to hit big shots and take big shots,” Davis said. “He sets his guys up well where he can get a good look off. We're looking for him.”