Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Anthony Davis scores 25 points, Pelicans down Celtics, 106-105

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis wore a supportive strap on his aching back and still managed to carry the New Orleans Pelicans on his shoulders until scrappy guard Tim Frazier could finish it off with clutch plays on both ends of the court.

Davis had 25 points, 16 rebounds, four steals and two blocks, and the Pelicans won for only the second time in their first 11 games, 106-105 over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

Frazier made a crucial steal of Marcus Smart‘s inbound pass near New Orleans’ basket with 14 seconds left. He also drew a shooting foul from Kelly Olynyk with 2.5 seconds left, setting up his go-ahead free throw for the final margin.

“He plays big,” Davis said of Frazier, who finished with 10 points. “He went in there with all them trees down there and got that steal. … And then, that was a great job, a high basketball IQ, to draw that foul.”

Langston Galloway scored a season-high 21 points for New Orleans, which began the season with eight straight losses. Fellow reserve Terrence Jones added 15 points and a season-high 10 rebounds.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said his concern coming into the game wasn’t so much what Davis would do, but whether he’d get more of the help he’s been lacking.

“Anthony is going to be Anthony,” said Stevens, whose team limited Davis to 7-of-22 shooting. “You can’t let Langston Galloway go off. Jones has had great games against us for as long as I can remember. … They really hurt us tonight.”

Isaiah Thomas scored 37 for Boston, including a driving scoop that tied the game with 7 seconds left.

Frazier then pushed the ball up the floor and the 7-foot Olynyk picked Frazier up defensively near the perimeter.

“I knew I had a big on me, so I tried to see if I could get him to go, and he went,” Frazier said.

Olynyk said he tried to challenge what initially looked like a shot attempt, and then Frazier “jumped into me and I picked up the foul.”

In part because the Celtics were out of timeouts and unable to advance the ball, they failed to get a decent shot off in the final 2 seconds. Boston’s first inbound attempt from its own baseline deflected off New Orleans along the sideline with a tenth of a second left.

The Celtics then attempted a long pass in hopes of a tip-in, but the inbound hit the rim and Smart’s attempted put-back in a crowd of players was off the mark.

Boston’s Avery Bradley had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Smart scored 15 points, but Bradley said the Celtics didn’t play well and failed to give Thomas help.

“It can’t just be Isaiah,” Bradley said. “It’s got to be other players out there making shots. … Everybody’s upset about it.”

TIP-IN

Celtics: Al Horford missed his seventh straight game because of concussion symptoms and it remains unclear when he’ll return. “I don’t want to put a timetable on it because I think it’s about how he feels day to day,” Stevens said. Stevens added that once the Celtics decided not to play Horford, they got him an early flight back to Boston so he could get more rest.

Pelicans: Rookie shooting guard Buddy Hield made his first start in place of E'Twaun Moore. After tip-off, the Pelicans announced coach Alvin Gentry had decided to give Moore the night off to rest a right big toe injury. … The Pelicans’ win was their first at home, where they improved to 1-5.

BACK PAIN

Davis could be seen lying on the court near the bench when he wasn’t playing and said it was to ease stress on his back.

“Every time I sit down it just tightens up, so that was the best way for me to try to keep it loose,” Davis said. “You’ve got to play through it, fight through and try to do whatever you can do to help your team win.”

SQUANDERED LEAD

New Orleans led by as many as 14 points when Dante Cunningham‘s 3 made it 65-51 in the third quarter, but the Pelicans briefly lost the lead in the final minutes.

“We’ve got to continue to eliminate some of the mental mistakes and putting ourselves in harm’s way,” Gentry said. But Gentry also added that he was pleased his team “hung in and found a way to win.”

 

Pacers top former coach Frank Vogel, Magic 88-69

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — C.J. Miles made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points, and the Pacers spoiled Frank Vogel’s return to Indiana with an 88-69 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

Vogel coached the Pacers for more than five seasons before he was let go in May. He was quickly scooped up by Orlando, and it looks as if he has plenty of work to do with the Magic.

The crowd cheered when Vogel was introduced before the game. He led the Pacers to back-to-back Eastern Conference finals appearances and compiled a 250-181 record during his tenure in Indiana.

Paul George had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Pacers, who pulled away in the second half. Monta Ellis also scored 13 points, and Jeff Teague finished with 11.

Orlando shot 32 percent from the field. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting, and Aaron Gordon had 11.

Indiana led by as many as 21 points during the fourth quarter.

TIP-INS

Magic: Orlando has lost 12 of its last 14 meetings with the Pacers, dating to the 2012-13 season.

Pacers: After scoring in double digits in each of the last four games, Al Jefferson was shut out.

 

Watch Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit ridiculous circus shot

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Give the Thunder an “H.”

Late in the fourth the Pistons — playing without Andre Drummond for the night — were trying to hold off the suddenly-struggling Thunder, and sometime’s being lucky is just as important as being good. And make no mistake, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was lucky on this circus shot, but it falls.

The Pistons won 104-88, Caldwell-Pope had 17 points (on 17 shots), and Tobias Harris led the way for Detroit with 22. Good win for a Pistons team without their stars on a night Russell Westbrook still dropped 33.

Watch Russell Westbrook’s fierce high-flying dunk

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The Thunder have some problems — their defense has come apart and cost them four-straight games, including a loss at Detroit on Monday night.

Russell Westbrook, however, is not a problem — he had 33 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists. That included the just vicious dunk you see above.

Westbrook also picked up a technical on the kind of leg-kick you don’t see every day.

Watch James Harden drop 23 on Sixers — in first quarter

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This would be a good game line for anyone: 8-of-8 shooting including nailing both threes, 5-of-5 from the free throw line, adding up to 23 points, with four rebounds and three assists.

That was James Harden‘s first quarter against the Rockets Monday night.

The red-hot Harden just torched the Sixers struggling defense. The problem for Philly in the first quarter (and half, for that matter) wasn’t the jumpers, it was all the points in the paint Houston got. It was like a conga line to the rim, and Houston scored at will. The Rockets had a comfortable 13 point lead at the half.