LOS ANGELES — Getting hit in the ribs only took Anthony Davis off the court for a short time. He came back and proved a one-man wrecking crew against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Davis scored 41 points despite a rib contusion and the New Orleans Pelicans won their ninth straight, 121-116 on Tuesday night.
He tied his career high with four 3-pointers and had 13 rebounds.
“My team’s doing a good job getting me open and putting me in a spot to be successful,” Davis said. “Everybody on the team is playing well.”
He left the game after banging bodies with DeAndre Jordan going for a rebound. Davis grabbed his side before going to the locker room for an X-ray, which was negative. He returned wearing extra padding and exploded for 19 points in the third quarter, capping it with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
“Nothing seemed to affect him,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “That’s a really kind of a tough injury. It feels like somebody’s sticking an ice pick in your side when you’re trying to breathe with those bruised ribs, but he played through it.”
Gentry added, “He’s playing on an MVP level.”
Tobias Harris and Lou Williams scored 27 points apiece for the Clippers, who had their two-game winning streak snapped. Harris added 11 rebounds and Williams had 11 assists. Montrezl Harrell had 26 points, and Jordan had 10 points and 20 rebounds.
“We didn’t play great, that’s it,” Williams said.
After being down 20 points in the third, the Clippers made things interesting in the fourth behind a raucous crowd eager for a comeback victory. Los Angeles went up by four with 2:05 left but Davis answered with six straight points, including the tiebreaking jumper with 31 seconds remaining.
“I always want to take the big shot,” Davis said. “Make or miss, I’ll live with it.”
The Pelicans had a 12-3 run over the final 1:16 to pull out the win.
Jrue Holiday added 19 points and a career-high 17 assists for New Orleans.
Williams hit a 3-pointer to draw the Clippers to 117-116 but he missed two free throws and had a turnover and foul in the final 30 seconds. He went 7 of 13 from the free throw line and finished with five turnovers.
“No one came up big for us down the stretch and that’s why we lost,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
The Clippers took their first lead of the game at 49-48 on Harris’ layup off an alley-oop pass from Williams in the second.
It didn’t last long.
New Orleans outscored the Clippers 19-3 over the final five minutes to lead 67-52 at halftime. Holiday scored eight points in a row, including back-to-back 3-pointers. The Pelicans limited Los Angeles to three free throws in that stretch while blocking four shots and forcing Jordan into a turnover.
The Pelicans shot 52 percent from the floor in racing to a 14-point lead in the first.
Pelicans: They haven’t lost since Feb. 9 at Philadelphia. … They lead the four-game season series 2-1.
Clippers: Harrell scored 20 or more points for the fifth time this season; he had two 20-plus-point games over the last two seasons combined. … There is no timetable for the return of G Avery Bradley (sports hernia), one of four injured players on the roster.
Holiday and Rajon Rondo combined for 26 assists and two turnovers, both by Holiday. Rondo added 13 points to go with Holiday’s double-digit scoring effort. The Pelicans had 39 assists.
Currently a half-game out of the eighth and final playoff spot, the Clippers have to play seven of the eight Western Conference teams ahead of them over their last 19 games. Their schedule includes games against Eastern playoff contenders Toronto, Cleveland, Indiana and Milwaukee.
“March is a monster for us,” Rivers said.
The scoreboards above the court and on either side of it went out with just over a minute left in the game, leaving the public address announcer to inform the crowd it was a tie game.
HE SAID IT
“If we had won the game, it would have been a robbery.” — Rivers.
Pelicans: Visit Sacramento on Wednesday in the second game of a back-to-back.
Clippers: Host Cleveland on Friday.
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