Anthony Davis didn’t waste much time celebrating Friday’s 109-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
In fact, he didn’t even take time to shower.
After conducting a pair of postgame interviews, the New Orleans Pelicans’ superstar forward traded a jersey for a T-shirt and went directly to the weight room to work on his physique.
A back injury suffered Jan. 8 forced Davis to leave in the first quarter of a 91-86 loss to the Indiana Pacers, then sidelined him for the next two games entirely while recovering. So, not only did he miss the playing time, the aching back prevented him from staying on his exercise regimen.
“I wasn’t able to lift the past couple of days because of my back,” Davis said on Friday night. “I’m going to get back in the weight room and lift some weights so (head strength and conditioning coach) Jason (Sumerlin) will be happy.”
Davis drew headlines this past offseason for gaining nearly 20 pounds of muscle thanks to a steady regimen of lifting, dieting and exercise with the hope he would be able to handle more low-post physicality in his fourth NBA season.
While he has logged significant minutes at center, thanks to the Pelicans’ array of small lineups, he’s also suffered a series of nagging injuries which have cost him at least large portions of nine different games this season.
“My back feels better,” Davis said. “It’s getting there. It feels great when I’m on the floor. That’s all that matters.”
Despite operating near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said he’s felt nothing but gratitude from the people of New Orleans.
He complimented Friday night’s crowd at the Smoothie King Center for providing energy and also mentioned the upbeat and gracious attitude of the general citizenry when he’s been around the city in day-to-day life.
“We have great fans,” Gentry said. “They are behind this team, and we are struggling like crazy, and everybody you meet on the street will tell you something. I was just in the grocery store yesterday and some guy came up to me and said ‘hey look, you have to understand, you’re in New Orleans and we love our teams and we are behind you 100 percent.’
“That doesn’t happen in every city. Believe me. Take my word on that. It doesn’t happen in every city. It’s a special place. The fact we aren’t having the type of season we anticipated hasn’t stopped the fans from being behind us.”
The Pelicans canceled their scheduled practice Saturday, opting to use the time at home to rest with a compact stretch of games coming up in the next week.
They will return to the practice floor Sunday morning before travelling to Memphis, Tennessee, for a 1 p.m. Monday tipoff against the Grizzlies in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day afternoon showdown.
The Pelicans host seven consecutive home games following Monday’s game, stretching from Jan. 19 through Feb. 1. … New Orleans is riding the momentum of consecutive wins for just the third time this season. Its season-long winning streak is three games which it tallied between Nov. 20 and Nov. 25.