Basketball

Anthony Davis brilliant as Pelicans stun Celtics

New Orleans star's third straight 40-point game ends Boston's seven-game win run

Anthony Davis scored 45 points as the New Orleans Pelicans jolted the Boston Celtics 116-113 in an overtime thriller at the TD Garden yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Davis, who before the game had brushed off reports linking him to a move to Boston, gave the home fans a glimpse of what they might be missing as he turned in a virtuoso performance.

The 24-year-old power forward showed sensational form, also chipping in with 16 rebounds and two assists, as the Pelicans improved to 23-20 to rise to sixth place in the Western Conference standings.

It was the third consecutive 40-point game for Davis, who scored 48 against the New York Knicks on Sunday and 41 against Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

CELTICS STILL AT THE TOP

"I just go out there, try and lead my team to victory," Davis said.

"It was a good win for us tonight."

Davis was backed with 23 points from Jrue Holiday, while DeMarcus Cousins added 19. Ian Clark added 15 from the bench as the Pelicans held their nerve in overtime to close out the win.

Despite seeing their seven-game winning streak snapped, the Celtics remain firmly in charge at the top of the NBA's Eastern Conference at 34-11.

Kyrie Irving led the scoring for Boston with 27 points, but the Celtics were left ruing an inability to close out the win after leading 101-96 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Davis had provided the inspiration for New Orleans, producing two clutch free-throws to put them 104-102 ahead as the buzzer ticked closer.

But Irving conjured a driving layup with 11.8 seconds left to force overtime at 104-104.

Marcus Smart made a 10-foot pull-up jumper to help Boston take a 113-110 lead with just over two minutes remaining in over-time, but Cousins hit back with a two-pointer before Holiday made it 114-113.

Holiday then sunk a 13-footer to make it 116-113 and the Pelicans held on.

"I told him to be aggressive and he was," Davis said of Holiday's performance.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens blamed poor defensive play in the closing minutes for the defeat.

"We didn't guard tonight," he said.

"We went on a drought quite late and that was critical. You'd like to have some of those shots back.

"There were a lot that contributed to it, but I'd say the defensive end, we were really poor on that end."

The loss compounded the misery for Celtics fans, who had earlier learnt of the death of club legend Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion and Olympic gold medallist.

White's daughter Meka White was quoted by The Undefeated website as saying the former basketball star had died following an illness brought on by dementia.- AFP

OTHER RESULTS

Orlando 108 Minnesota 102, Denver 105 Dallas 102, Portland 118 Phoenix 111

Basketball