Coach Alvin Gentry could not enjoy Anthony Davis' historic performance over the weekend until it was over and his team had won. All that matters to Gentry, Davis and the rest of the New Orleans Pelicans is that they continue to progress.
They can improve to 3-0 since the All-Star Break by keeping the Washington Wizards from a season-high fourth consecutive home victory Tuesday night.
Davis scored a franchise-record 59 points and pulled down 20 rebounds as New Orleans (22-33) won for the fourth time in five games, 111-106 at Detroit on Sunday.
“I did as much as I can to help the team win,” said Davis, who two days prior scored 34 in 38 minutes of a 121-114 win over Philadelphia. “After a while it felt like anything you threw up was going to go in.”
Eclipsing Jamal Mashburn's team-record 50-point effort set exactly 13 years ago to the day and joining Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Webber as the only players with 50 and 20 boards in a game since 1983, Davis went 24 of 34 from the field and scored 19 in the fourth quarter.
When it was finished, Gentry could finally feel good about the show Davis put on.
“After, you really appreciate what he's done and the magnitude of which he played and some of the things he did,” Gentry said.
Sitting 11th in the Western Conference and 5 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot, New Orleans needs a serious run for a chance to even flirt with the postseason. While Davis' dominance provided some entertainment, Gentry's only concern is piling up the victories.
“Use the 29 games after the All-Star break as our own season and try to see if we can be a playoff team,” Gentry said.
The Pelicans have shot 49.1 percent in the two contests since the break and Sunday won for the first time in eight road games this season against an opponent from the East. New Orleans has dropped three straight at Washington, but the last two were by a combined four points. It snapped a seven-game overall series skid with a 107-105 win Dec. 11.
Though the Wizards (25-29) hit half of their 80 field-goal attempts, the Pelicans made 16 of 27 3-pointers and overcame a nine-point fourth-quarter hole. Tyreke Evans scored 27, but has since undergone season-ending knee surgery.
Davis, who had 18 with 11 boards in that contest, has shot 11 of 18 each time while totaling 56 points plus 24 rebounds in the last two at Washington.
Fellow star John Wall had 26 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds against the Pelicans in December.
Like the rest of his team, Wall struggled to sustain some energy while scoring 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting as the Wizards failed to win a rare three games in three days with Saturday's 114-94 loss at Miami. Washington was facing such a daunting stretch because Thursday's 103-89 win over Utah was originally scheduled Jan. 23 when a severe snow storm blanketed the East Coast.
“If you can win two of three out of it you can feel good about yourself,” Wall said. “To get three would have been great for us. But we get two days off to rest and look forward to Tuesday.”
Washington has shot 49.2 percent while holding its last three home opponents to an average of 89.7 points and 41.9 percent shooting.