Coming off another dominant all-around performance, Anthony Davis is starting to emerge as one of the premier players in the game. The Phoenix Suns, however, found a way to contain him earlier this week.
Looking to avenge that lackluster effort, Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans go for a third straight win Sunday night against a Suns team that has yet to lose at home.
Davis has turned heads in the early going, leading New Orleans (3-3) with 23.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game. He averaged 13.5, 8.2 and 1.8, respectively, during his 2012-13 rookie season.
“I work on certain things and try to apply it during the game,” Davis said. “That’s why you work out. That’s why you have summer sessions and work with the coaches, work with the team, trainers, whoever to get better. I’d be disappointed in myself if I hadn’t gotten better.”
Davis was at it again Friday, recording a career-high 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 96-85 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
“He’s the franchise. He’s that guy. He’s the go-to guy, and everybody here knows it,” said Jrue Holiday, who had 13 points and 13 assists for his first double-double with New Orleans. “We want him to be that guy. It’s awesome to see.”
The 20-year-old Davis also blocked a career-high six shots for the second time in four games.
“He’s a special player because he’s athletic,” Lakers big man Pau Gasol said. “… He’s got a complete package for his second year in the league. It’s pretty impressive.”
Davis, though, had one of his quieter games in Tuesday’s 104-98 loss to the Suns. He had 11 rebounds and five blocks but was limited to a season-low 17 points while going 5 for 14 from the field.
Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, meanwhile, had 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting as the Suns shot 50.0 percent for the night.
“I just took what the defense gave me,” Bledsoe said afterward. “They gave me layups all night, so I was going to take every last one of them.”
Bledsoe, averaging a team-leading 20.3 points, scored nine of his 17 over the final 12 minutes in Friday’s 114-103 win over the Denver Nuggets. The emerging guard has been especially good in the fourth quarter during the Suns’ 3-0 start at home, averaging 11.3 points.
“I’m real confident, my team’s confident in me, my coaching staff, everybody’s confident in me having the ball throughout the game,” Bledsoe, who added nine assists Friday, told the team’s official website. “I just happened to make good decisions in the fourth.”
The Suns (4-2) also got another big game from Markieff Morris, who had a career-high 28 points and 10 boards off the bench. He totaled 23 and 12 two nights earlier in a 99-96 loss to the Spurs in San Antonio.
“He’s doing a nice job of not just floating around that 15-, 18-foot range looking for a jump shot,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s powering the ball inside.”
The Suns’ reserves are averaging an impressive 36.7 points a game.
“We’re going to need that for the rest of the season to be one of those good teams in the West,” guard Gerald Green said.
Green has started the last three games in place of Goran Dragic, who is hoping to suit up Sunday after sitting out with a sprained ankle.
The Suns are enjoying their best home start since opening 10-0 in 2009-10.