Edmonton Journal

Davis awes hometown crowd in first NBA game in Chicago

- Jay Cohen The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Anthony Davis made several long jumpers from the top of the key. He put the ball on the ground and drove to the basket. He protected the lane for New Orleans, gliding to the rim for several big rebounds and blocked shots.

Davis’ return to Chicago was one impressive show.

The six-foot-10 power forward was outstandin­g in his first NBA game in his hometown, finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots in the Pelicans’ 107-100 loss to the surging Bulls Saturday night.

Playing in front of family members and friends, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 draft showed no signs of any jitters or nerves.

It was another scary display for the rest of the league, the type of monster performanc­e that is coming with increasing frequency this season. Davis is averaging 24.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and three blocked shots per game — all team highs and better numbers than he had in his first two years. And he is just 21.

“As he gets stronger and his mind develops, he is going to be an even better player,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.

The player that showed up at the United Center had the Bulls shaking their heads with respect. It was Davis’ sixth game of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots; he accomplish­ed that feat five times all of last season.

“He is a great player, and great well beyond his years,” said Joakim Noah, the reigning NBA defensive player of the year who guarded Davis for part of the night. “I thought that for somebody to come in, playing in front of your hometown, usually there’s some anxiety. I just saw a lot of composure from him tonight.”

Davis grew up on Chicago’s South Side and led Kentucky to the national championsh­ip in his only season with the Wildcats. He had a mild concussion when New Orleans visited Chicago during his rookie year, and he broke his left hand before the Pelicans’ road game against the Bulls last December.

 ?? Nam Y. Huh/ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, right, looks to make a pass as Chicago’s Joakim Noah guards him Saturday.
Nam Y. Huh/ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, right, looks to make a pass as Chicago’s Joakim Noah guards him Saturday.

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