Anthony Davis was getting his numbers.
He wasn’t satisfying his coach.
So Alvin Gentry made it clear to the Pelicans forward during Saturday’s game at Dallas that he needed to do more.
“(Davis) was coasting a little bit,” Gentry told reporters after the game. “We really discussed playing a little bit harder during one of the timeouts. I thought he got upset and that triggered him, so I told him I’m going to yell at him every game now, if he can get going like that.”
After a 10-point, six-rebound first half, Davis had 10 points and five boards in the third quarter alone, and he followed with an 11-point, three-rebound fourth quarter.
It added up to 31 points and 15 rebounds in a 105-98 win, the Pelicans’ best on the road this season.
It was Davis’ highest point total since he scored 31 in a home win against Cleveland on Dec. 4 and the sixth time this season he had scored at least 30 points.
And it was sparked by Gentry’s displeasure with his star player.
“It is what it is,” Davis said. “We got that type of relationship — everybody on this team. He felt like I was coasting through the game. That speaks volumes (about) him. He doesn’t care who you are, what you make, whatever. He’s going to get on you. I just took it to another level.”
Saturday’s win marked the fourth time in six games that the Pelicans held an opponent under 100 points. That came after allowing 100 or more points in 23 of the first 27 games.
Over that six-game span, the Pelicans are allowing 99.5 points per 100 possessions. That’s 7.8 points per 100 possessions fewer than New Orleans’ season average.
The Pelicans held the Mavericks to 43.4 percent shooting and outrebounded them 53-33. Dallas made a run late in the fourth quarter to cut what had been an 12-point New Orleans lead to one, but the Pelicans responded with an 8-2 run.
“The difference in the game was the defense,” Gentry said. “We did a really good job. Even when they made that run, if you look back, they made some really, really tough shots.”
No looking ahead
The Pelicans (11-22) are 5-5 in their past 10 games and 10-11 since starting the season 1-11. That’s progress, and though they remained 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference entering Sunday, they were four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
That represents some big-picture progress, but Gentry — whose team won’t play again until Dallas visits the Smoothie King Center on Wednesday — doesn’t want to take the macro view.
“We just go one game to the next,” he said. “We don’t talk about building. We don’t talk about doing anything. The next game on our mind is the next one on the schedule, and we are thinking very short-term right now.”