Celtics brace for stern test from Davis, Pelicans (Jan 6, 2017)

BOSTON — Having dealt with one of the NBA’s prime young big men in Friday night’s win, the Boston Celtics see another one Saturday night when Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans visit TD Garden.

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, just getting his NBA feet wet after his battles with injuries, was outstanding in just under 26 minutes Friday night. He scored 23 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the 110-106 loss to the Celtics.

Davis is another story entirely. He’s already a star and comes to town averaging 28.6 points, 12 rebounds, 2.54 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for the Pelicans (14-23).

He had 25 points and 16 rebounds the first time these teams met, in New Orleans on Nov. 14. The then 1-9 Pelicans beat the Celtics by a point even though Isaiah Thomas scored 37 points and dished out seven assists.

Friday night, the Celtics hit a club-record 19 3-pointers, four of them by big man Al Horford in the fourth quarter.

It was the third straight game they’ve either set or tied the mark (they had 17 in each of the previous two). They are 53-for-103 – 51.5 percent – from behind the arc in those games, all wins.

“They need every one of those threes (Friday) and I give them credit,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “That’s what they do.”

The Pelicans dropped a five-point decision at Atlanta Thursday, with Davis scoring 20 points and grabbing 19 rebounds and Jrue Holiday adding 18 points.

“We weren’t moving the ball,” Davis said. “We had 19 assists, but it felt like mostly one-on-one, then passing the ball. When we play one-on-one, we get a lot of bad shots.”

Said coach Alvin Gentry: “We had 19 assists, but that’s a bogus number really. A lot of them came from us trying to do too much and we lucked into finding an open guy to make a shot. It wasn’t a flow. It wasn’t anything that had a rhythm to it and we just never got that point in the game.

“Offensively, we’re just not moving the basketball.”

The Celtics (22-14) certainly are. They had 28 assists on 35 baskets Friday night (87 assists during the winning streak), as Avery Bradley scored 26 points and Thomas 24 for his 20th straight 20-point game.

Thomas is usually the man who does it for the Celtics down the stretch, but Friday night it was Horford.

“That guy’s a four-time All-Star. He’s won a ton of games, no matter where he’s been. He’s good – not worried about him,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game.

The win was the ninth in the last 11 games for the Celtics, who have also finally figured out how to win at home. They have won four straight at TD Garden, lifting their record to 10-6 (12-8 on the road).

Stevens felt his team was out-toughed for the first 28 minutes of the contest before coming on, allowing the Celtics to escape on a night where they didn’t play their best game.

“Our grit shows,” said Marcus Smart, who had 14 points, eight assists and his usual stiff defense off the bench. “It showed what type of team we are. We stuck together. We didn’t stray away from the plan that Brad drew up for us and we just really trusted one another and the game turned around for us.”

The Celtics will again be without backup big man Tyler Zeller Saturday. Zeller missing his third straight game with illness.