MIAMI — Anthony Davis didn’t get a win in his NBA Christmas Day debut. But he had a stat line stuffed like an overflowing stocking.
The Pelicans star had 29 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocked shots in 50 minutes of play in Friday’s 94-88 overtime loss to the Heat.
“It was cool,” Davis said of taking part in the NBA’s holiday tradition. “Kind of just ruins Christmas that we lost.”
Davis did his best to give the Pelicans a chance to win. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first half — the first NBA player this season to accomplish that feat — as the rest of his teammates struggled.
Through two quarters, Davis was 9 of 18 from the floor. His teammates were 6 for 25. His 10 rebounds were almost half the Pelicans’ first-half total of 22. He had their only three blocked shots of the first half and three of their nine assists.
Davis had nine points in the second half and overtime, shooting 4-for-11. He was 2-for- 5 in the fourth quarter.
“That’s what I get paid the big bucks for, to try to win games for us down the stretch,” Davis said. “Some guys were making shots and had it going (in the second half). … I was actually missing shots in the fourth, so the team did a good job of carrying me. It’s a team effort. But none of it matters because we still lost.”
Davis’ 50 minutes tied a career high. That workload was particularly significant given the Pelicans flew home Friday and host the Houston Rockets Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.
Davis shrugged off the question of whether he’s ready for long minutes on a short turnaround.
“I’m 22 years old, man,” Davis said. “I’m 22. That’s all I can say. It got to the point where I started buying treatment things for my house. (I’ll) just ice, recover and try to get back at it (Saturday).”
Tyreke Evans had a Christmas to forget.
The Pelicans guard said he was battling an illness and that he left the court to throw up at one point in the second half.
He finished with six points, seven assists and six rebounds, but had five turnovers and shot 2-for-9 from the floor. In the closing seconds of regulation, Evans was out of position to run a play out of a timeout, which required Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry to call another.
“One time I told coach to take me out because I couldn’t really breathe,” Evans said. “But I got back in there and was just trying to finish the game out strong.”
For a while, it looked like Jrue Holiday might help spark New Orleans to a win.
The Pelicans’ backup point guard had a quiet afternoon statistically, finishing with nine points and two assists. But he did a solid job defensively on the Heat’s Dwyane Wade in the second half and would have played in overtime if he could have.
“Without a doubt,” Gentry said.
But Holiday ran out of minutes.
He’d reached his 27-minute limit by the end of regulation, and so Holiday — who still has a minutes restriction as he recovers from a stress reaction in his right leg — had to sit on the bench in overtime in favor of Norris Cole.
“Defensively I think I was doing a pretty good job trying to contain D-Wade toward the end of the game,” Holiday said. “Obviously it also kind of sucks because Norris hadn’t been in there for a while, so to get back warmed up (is difficult). It’s just something I got to deal with.”
But not for much longer. Holiday’s minutes limit is set to be lifted around the first of the year. And he’s cleared to play in Saturday’s game against the Rockets, Gentry said, after previously being held out of one game of all but one of the Pelicans’ back-to-backs this season.
“It’s tough not having him out there,” Gentry said. “It’s tough as a coach knowing that you have an opportunity to win the game, but now we got to take him out. It’s just the way things are. But we still had an opportunity to win that game.”
Once Evans and Cole returned to the Pelicans after missing the first 17 games with injuries, it was always going to be difficult for New Orleans to find minutes for Ish Smith.
With his playing time dwindling, the Pelicans traded the point guard Thursday to the Philadelphia 76ers for second-round draft picks in 2016 and 2017.
Smith averaged 8.9 points and 5.7 assists in 22.9 minutes per game over 27 games with the Pelicans, but in his past 10 games, he averaged 3.7 points and 1.6 assists in 10.2 minutes per game.
“He did everything that I asked him to do from a standpoint of pace and pushing the basketball, and it was great to have him here,” Gentry said. “Obviously with Tyreke (back) and Jrue coming off restriction as far as minutes and Norris being healthy, it wasn’t a lot of time for him.”
Gentry predicted Smith would thrive in Philadelphia with Mike D’Antoni joining the 76ers staff and bringing some of the same up-tempo concepts Gentry learned from him.
“It’s a good situation for (Smith),” Gentry said. “He’s a great, great, great, great, great kid. I think he’ll be in this league a long, long time.”