New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis scores against Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) on March 5, 2017 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. File photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
New Orleans’ Anthony Davis will be the focus — from the fans’ standpoint and from the San Antonio Spurs’ defense — when the teams meet Wednesday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The Spurs, who have played their past six games away from home while on their annual Rodeo Road Trip, must deal with Davis, who scored a season-high 53 points and grabbed 18 rebounds Monday to lead the Pelicans to a 125-116 victory over Phoenix.
The victory was the sixth straight for New Orleans (34-26), its longest winning streak since 2011.
Davis is fueling the Pelicans’ resurgence, scoring an average of 41.5 points per game on 54.2 percent shooting and grabbing 15 rebounds per outing during their winning streak.
On Monday, it was all about Davis taking advantage of his opportunities, especially over the final five minutes after three Suns post players fouled out trying to guard him.
"A lot of their bigs were in foul trouble so I just wanted to hang around the rim as much as possible, knowing I had the size advantage," Davis said. "We’ll take any type of win any type of way we can get it."
The Pelicans’ recent surge has vaulted them from ninth to fifth place in the Western Conference and has been accomplished since All-Star forward DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season Jan. 26 with a torn Achilles.
"Right now, everybody’s playing their part — everybody’s doing it together," Davis said. "And 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."
The Spurs head back to the Alamo City after a rousing 110-94 victory in Cleveland that allowed them to conclude their extended annual road trip with two wins in six games.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points in the victory while Danny Green came off the bench for the first time this season and added 22 to help San Antonio (36-25) snap a four-game losing streak.
Green, who missed Friday’s loss at Denver because of food poisoning, poured in five 3-pointers in the win. Dejounte Murray added 13 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio.
"Every win is a big one for us," Green said. "But this month we’ve had some ups and downs."
The Spurs have lost six of their past eight games but it would be foolish to write off San Antonio. It’s clear that San Antonio has been hampered by the continuing absence of star forward Kawhi Leonard, who continues to sit out as he rehabs a quad injury despite being cleared by the team to return.
Leonard was not seen during media availability at Spurs practice Tuesday, but Green confirmed he is back in San Antonio.
"He’s here, he’s around, we see him," Green said. "A friend, family, a nice face to see, but playing wise?… if I was a medical staff or trainer, they probably would tell me some stuff, but that’s above my pay grade."
Manu Ginobili will be back for the Spurs after sitting out Sunday’s game with a bruised sternum sustained in Friday’s loss to Denver. Pau Gasol is doubtful for the Pelicans’ game because of a bone bruise on his left knee.
New Orleans won first of four meetings this season 107-90 in the Crescent City on Nov. 22. San Antonio leads the series 42-15 and has won five straight against New Orleans at home.