LOS ANGELES — The Pelicans did not call foul after the game on the play that saw All-Star forward Anthony Davis injured Friday night in a 111-90 blowout loss to the Clippers at Staples Center, but their silence spoke volumes.
“I’m not going there,” Davis said, when asked about the knee-bumping collision with Clippers point guard Chris Paul at mid-court with 2:48 left in the third quarter. “No comment.”
On a play that he has executed many times to draw fouls, Paul — who had the ball — heard or sensed Davis coming up behind him and stopped, causing the collision that sent both players to the floor. Davis grabbed his knee, then his ankle, before staggering to just in front of the New Orleans bench and collapsing. The Pelicans had plenty to say about the play at that point, drawing three technical fouls — on assistant coach Robert Pack, center Kendrick Perkins and forward Ryan Anderson (who had a verbal encounter with Paul, who also got a technical).
Davis had to be helped to the locker room with what was initially diagnosed as a right-knee contusion. He returned to the bench in the fourth quarter to cheer his teammates on, but his status for Saturday night’s game at Utah was up in the air.
“You saw the play with your own eyes, draw your own conclusions,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “His knee is going to be looked at, and we will know more tomorrow. He’s hurt, and we will see how it goes.
“It’s all part of the game. When you are a great player, they are going to come at you. We just have to match the physicality, and find a way to stay off the injured list.”
Davis, who led New Orleans (4-12) with 17 points in 28 minutes, and had six rebounds, seemed most concerned about how quickly he could return to the lineup.
“I’ve got to be on the floor,” Davis said. “We have a lot of guys hurt. I can’t afford to go down.”
As for the game itself, the Pelicans’ three-game winning streak came to a screeching halt against an 8-8 Clippers team that had lost three in a row on its home floor, and would not stand for a fourth.
The Clippers controlled the flow of play from the outset, shot a scorching 68.4 percent (13 of 19) from the field in a 35-point second quarter, and never looked back. The misfiring Pelicans, who shot just 36.2 percent for the game, could not get out of the hole they dug.
“I didn’t think we competed at the beginning of the game,” Gentry said. “I think the physicality at the start was totally in their favor, and they controlled the game from start to finish. We didn’t compete like we need to, and in this situation, you can’t afford to take two steps forward and one back.
“It’s not the loss that matters the most, it’s how it’s happened, and the approach that we had. I just didn’t think we matched their intensity, and the game got out of hand right from the start.”
Guard Ish Smith tried to spark the Pelicans off the bench. He had a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists but made just 7 of 20 shots. Anderson also had a poor shooting game, netting just 3 of 14, but grabbed eight rebounds. He had averaged 27 points in his past four games.
“We have been doing a great job by winning our last three, and our defense has been solid,” Smith said. “It was just a good team, and they took it to us. There is nothing more than that, and we need to bounce back. We have a really good Utah team to face, in that altitude, so it will be a good challenge for us.”
Center Omer Asik scored the Pelicans’ first two points with his first field goal since Nov. 10 against Dallas. Asik had 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes, but lost playing time when New Orleans had to try to scramble from behind. .... Former Pelicans first-round pick Austin Rivers had a season-high 17 points off the bench for the Clippers.