DALLAS — Anthony Davis did just what New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams wanted him to do Monday night at American Airlines Center.
The second-year forward seized the leading role against the Dallas Mavericks with a 25-point performance. That part was no trouble. The hard part was getting someone to follow him.
While Davis shot a strong 58 percent, making 11 of 19 shots for the game, the rest of the team struggled to find the basket, combining to hit a mere 16 of 49 — 33 percent — through three quarters.
Eventually, everyone else figured it out. After Davis left the game for good with 8:04 left — he came up limping after getting tangled up with teammate Austin Rivers while going for a rebound — guard Brian Roberts took over, scoring all 17 of his points in the fourth quarter to lead the Pelicans to a 94-92 victory.
And while the result was satisfying, the real good news was that Davis, the budding centerpiece of the Pelicans’ franchise, was everything he was supposed to be.
Williams said Davis was fine, though the former Kentucky star spent an extended time after the game in the training room and was not available to reporters.
“He’s not worried about making mistakes,” Williams said. “He’s attacking when he needs to. He’s worked on his game, and that gives you a level of confidence like none other. When you work as hard as he did this summer, you find yourself on the floor, and things are a bit easier than they were the year before.