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Anthony Davis scores 48 points, grabs 17 rebounds as Pelicans beat Knicks in OT

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NEW YORK (AP) Anthony Davis‘ fullcourt heave after the third quarter was too late to give him points, though it gave him that unstoppable feeling great players get.

“I kind of saw it, but I mean you never really make those,” Davis said of the shot he launched from just inside the opposite baseline . “So when it in I just kind of felt like tonight was definitely my night.”

And thanks to his monster effort, it became the Pelicans’, too.

Davis scored a season-high 48 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, leading New Orleans back from 19 points down late in the third quarter to a 123-118 overtime victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Jrue Holiday added 31 points, and DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals and five assists and for the Pelicans. They were down 16 after one, even further back late in the third and still down nine with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

But they kept coming and Holiday had three baskets and a couple free throws in OT to help them finish it off.

“I thought we did a great job in the overtime,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “AD was just huge for us, and when you get into those zones like that he’s really good.”

Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. each scored 25 points for the Knicks, who lost their third straight and 10th in their last 12 games. Jarrett Jack had a season-high 22 points, and Enes Kanter finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Five days after a double-overtime loss to Chicago in a game they led by 11, the Knicks coughed up another big lead in a miserable way to finish a rare January home game before they begin a seven-game, coast-to-coast trip Monday in Brooklyn that has them away for two weeks.

“I think we’ve just got to do a better job of when we’re up 12, 15 points, we’ve got to take it to another level, another notch,” Hardaway said. “We haven’t been doing that these last couple of games.”

The Knicks seemed in control late in a high-scoring third quarter, when they outscored the Pelicans 39-34. Hardaway’s jumper gave New York a 96-77 lead with 1:22 remaining in the period, but New Orleans then went on a 17-4 run to cut it 100-94 midway through the fourth.

The Pelicans then finished regulation with a 13-4 charge, tying the game on Davis’ basket with 3.5 seconds remaining. New Orleans then nearly won it, as E'Twaun Moore stole an inbounds pass and launched a 3-pointer that rimmed out at the buzzer.

Holiday put New Orleans ahead for good with 1:52 to play in OT and Davis had the next basket, making it 120-117.

The Knicks, playing the first of back-to-back afternoon starts, jumped to a 29-13 lead after one quarter.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: Davis has scored at least 35 points in each of his last three games at Madison Square Garden. … PG Jameer Nelson missed the game for personal reasons. … The Pelicans signed guard Mike James, who played for Phoenix earlier this season, to a two-way contract. He didn’t play.

Knicks: The Knicks signed former lottery pick Trey Burke, who had been playing for their G League affiliate and was second in the league with 26.6 points per game. The No. 9 selection in the 2013 draft has averaged 10.6 points and 3.6 assists in 267 career games with Utah and Washington.

BURKE’S BACK

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said during the summer Burke told the Knicks he was interested in playing for their G League team and learning their system, rather than signing a deal with another NBA team. Hornacek speculated that may have been because the Knicks’ point guard situation was unsettled at the time and maybe Burke saw an opportunity, but Burke explained otherwise.

“I think I wanted to just start from scratch, kind of recreate my brand, recreate and show what I can do on a night in and night out basis with consistent minutes,” Burke said. “I think going down there, a lot of people look at it as a knock, but for me, I went down there, it was more so like a growing period for me. I kind of wanted to start over.”

BIG MEN ON CAMPUS

The game featured three straight winners of the AP college basketball Player of the Year award. Davis won in 2012 for NCAA champion Kentucky, Burke won the next year when Michigan was the runner-up, and the Knicks’ Doug McDermott won in 2014 at Creighton.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: At Boston on Tuesday night.

Knicks: At Brooklyn on Monday.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Watch all of LeBron James’ 46 points in Game 6

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There is going to be a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday because of LeBron James.

George Hill had a strong game (20 points), Jeff Green and Larry Nance Jr. had their moments, but it was all about LeBron — 46 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists in 46 brilliant minutes.

Rather than try to describe his game to you — including the dagger threes late — just watch.

And enjoy. There are still some people out there (mostly on Twitter, it seems) who just want to tear LeBron down for some reason. I pity them. Not just because they are wrong, although they are. Rather, it’s because they are depriving themselves of enjoying one of the greatest players ever to lace them up. LeBron can bully people in the paint, hit step back threes, is as gifted a passer as the game has seen, and just plays a smart, high-IQ game we have got to watch grow over the years. If you can’t enjoy that, you don’t love basketball.

LeBron James is a force nature, scores 46, wills Cavaliers to win forcing Game 7

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What more can be said about the brilliance of LeBron James?

We can point to his 46 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists Friday night in a win-or-go-fishing elimination game. We can point to how he lifted the team up when Kevin Love went down after a blow to the head (more on that later). We could talk about how this is his seventh 40+ point game of the playoffs, the last guy to do that since Michael Jordan in 1989 (when Jordan was 25 and had yet to win a title).

Or, we can just show you his back-to-back dagger threes in the fourth quarter over Jayson Tatum.

That is art on a basketball court.

LeBron got a little help Friday night at home, and with that the Cavaliers won Game 6 109-99, forcing a Game 7 back in Boston on Sunday night.

“It feels good just to play for another game, and like I’ve always said ‘Game 7’ is the best two words in sports,” LeBron said. “And for us to be on the road in a hostile environment where we have had no success up to this point, we should relish the opportunity and have fun with it.”

LeBron was nothing short of brilliant (remember 10-12 years ago people were trying to say he was afraid of the big moment, damn that sounds silly now). He is historically brilliant in Game 7s, but he can’t do it alone.

George Hill, the second best shot creator on the team, had 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Jeff Green had 14 off the bench, and Larry Nance Jr. had a timely 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Nance’s play was crucial because Kevin Love went down 5 minutes into the game after banging heads with Jayson Tatum while setting a screen.

Love’s was being checked for a concussion and his status for Game 7 is not known. (If he does have a concussion, it’s unlikely he clears the league protocol in time to play in two days.)

Despite LeBron and all of it, the Celtics had their chances in this one.

Boston got off to a fast start because Jaylen Brown had 15 first-quarter points and the Celtics shot 61 percent as a team, none of which seemed sustainable but it got them out to a 25-20 lead after one. Then the Cavaliers came on in the second with a 20-4 run behind LeBron, and once they had the lead the Cavaliers never let it go.

Boston will look back on not grabbing rebounds — Cleveland grabbed the offensive rebound on 36.6 percent of their missed shots, a very high percentage — and the fact the Celtics missed nine free throws and think things could have been different.

Boston is going home, where they are 10-0 these playoffs and for some reason inexplicable even to Brad Stevens, they play much better. The Celtics have a great defense, smart players, and a real chance.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James. That may be enough.

“We have one more game to be able to compete for a championship, what more can you ask for?” LeBron said.

Kevin Love being evaluated for concussion, out for second half

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It happened just five minutes into the game — Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Boston’s Jayson Tatum banged heads.

Love was in the midpost and part of his job was to set a screen for George Hill, who was racing out to the arc. In doing so, Love and Tatum banged heads and it wasn’t pretty.

Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and has not returned to the game.

Tatum did not leave the game.

There still is no official word on if Love has a concussion. If he does, he will go into the league’s mandated concussion protocol — which means to be cleared he has to be symptom free through a series of physical tests — and it would be a challenge for him to be back for a Game 7, if there is one.

And their likely will be one. After struggling in the rest of the first quarter without Love, the Cavaliers have gotten solid performances out of Hill, Jeff Green, and of course, LeBron James has been brilliant. The Cavaliers have a comfortable 15-point lead late in the third quarter.

NBA Finals schedule drops, Game 1 Thursday, May 31

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We don’t know where the NBA Finals will be played, but we know when.

Next Thursday the eyes of the NBA world could be focused on Oakland or Houston, and the following Wednesday that may shift to Boston or Cleveland. All four of those teams still have a chance to make the NBA Finals.

What we know is the dates for the games. Here is the schedule:

Game 1, Thursday, May 31, at 9 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets/Golden State Warriors

Game 2, Sunday, June 3, at 8 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets/Golden State Warriors

Game 3, Wednesday, June 6, at 9 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets/Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers

Game 4, Friday, June 8, at 9 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets/Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers

Game 5, Monday, June 11, at 9 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets/Golden State Warriors

Game 6, Thursday, June 14, at 9 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets/Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers

Game 7, Sunday, June 17, at 8 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets/Golden State Warriors

Games 5, 6, and 7 are if necessary. All games will be broadcast on ABC.

There were no surprises here. The date of the start of the NBA Finals has been set since before the season started (it always is, to help broadcast partners and international media plan). The game pattern follows the same as last year, when the NBA changed it to make sure there was at least one day off in addition to travel days when the venue switches cities.