NBA

Anthony Davis' ridiculous run has lifted the New Orleans Pelicans and put him in the MVP race

Jay Asser 21:19 27/02/2018
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Anthony Davis now has three 50-point games in his career.

There are hot streaks and then there’s what Anthony Davis is on right now.

Describing the New Orleans Pelicans star’s recent run as a ‘tear’ doesn’t do justice to the ridiculous numbers Davis has been putting up this month.

Specifically over the past seven games, the All-Star big man has averaged 37.6 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.9 steals, 2.7 blocks and a shooting percentage of 51.9.

His most dominant effort came in Monday’s 125-116 win over the Phoenix Suns, in which he recorded a staggering 53 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks.

With the performance, Davis became just the second player in history with 50 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in a game since blocks became a stat in 1973, joining Bob McAdoo who accomplished the feat in 1974.

It also gave him his fifth 40-point, 10-rebound game in February – the most over a calendar month in the past 35 seasons – while notching the third 50-point outburst of his career to make him the 11th player in history to reach the half-century mark three times before the age of 25.

“It’s amazing, but at the end of the day I just try to go out there and win. Do whatever I can do,” Davis said on having his name mentioned among the game’s greats.

“Of course being in a category with those guys, it’s an honor for me. I don’t go out there and try to get those points in any category. I just try to do what I can to help the team win.”

And win is what the Pelicans have been doing as a result of Davis putting the team on his back. New Orleans have reeled off seven straight and won eight of 11 this month to vault them up the Western Conference standings.

After DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles tear on January 26, it looked like the Pelicans would be in a fight just to reach the playoffs. But after dropping five of their next six, New Orleans have righted themselves as Davis has surged and now sit fifth in the West, only two games in the win column behind Minnesota for third.

“Right now, everybody’s playing their part. Everybody’s doing it together,” Davis said. “And then we’re doing it without one of our main guys, so it makes it more special, especially when everybody thought we were going to go down in the standings. We’re actually moving up.”

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By going supernova, Davis has raised the collective success of the Pelicans, but he’s also put his foot in the door for the MVP discussion.

New Orleans’ mediocrity for the first half of the season, coupled with the load being shared between Davis and Cousins, meant that the 24-year-old wasn’t being mentioned for the award. But even though his February numbers are unsustainable, Davis has at least injected his name into the conversation.

The clear frontrunner for MVP at the moment is Houston Rockets star James Harden, who has the stats worthy of the honour – averages of 31.4 points, 8.9 assists and 5.2 rebounds – and the title of best player on the best team (record-wise).

It’s unlikely Harden will be caught, even if Houston are overtaken by Golden State by year’s end, but Davis’ February run has been a reminder of his standing among the top players in today’s game.

While Giannis Antetokounmpo’s torrid rise this season has earned him praise as the next superstar to sit on the throne after LeBron James and Kevin Durant finish their primes, Davis has been equally impressive to pose a challenge to that claim.

Right now, it seems like there’s nothing Davis can’t do.

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