Anthony Davis may lead the league in MRIs and x-rays this season, but right now he is playing arguably the best basketball of his professional career, literally willing the Pelicans to win after win - mostly in close contests. He did so again, scoring 41 points, 31 of them after the half and after he bruised his ribs, to lead the Pelicans to a 9th straight win, 121-116 in Los Angeles Tuesday night.

The red-hot Pelicans visit Sacramento Wednesday night and all eyes will be on MVP-candidate Davis and his ribs as the team tries to knock off the bottom-feeding Kings, who have been big problems for the Pels.

Outside of Houston and Golden State, spots 3 through 10 in the West are only separated by 4.5 games so every win by the Pelicans is crucial. A continued hot finish could have them as high as third and hosting a first-round playoff series, while a cold streak could drop them out of the playoffs altogether or set them up for a first-round series against Houston or Golden State without home court advantage.

The stakes are high, and Anthony Davis knows it.

"He's willing to sacrifice his body to make a play," said head coach Alvin Gentry afterwards. "We wish it weren't that way, but he's a guy who's going to do everything to help us win games. When he goes to the locker room, if there's any chance he can come back and play, he's going to come back and play."