You shouldn’t give Anthony Davis any extra motivation. The 22-year-old is, by any measure, as good as any 22-year-old has ever been in the NBA, and he’s all but carried an awkward, poorly coached New Orleans Pelicans roster into a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference.
Last night, we got a preview of the potentially fierce first round matchup Davis and New Orleans would face, against the Golden State Warriors. Davis took words said by an unnamed Warriors player to heart. "They came out and said it was going to be a scrimmage game," Davis said in a TV interview after the game, a 103-100 Pelicans win. "We kind of took that personal.”
"I don't know who said it,” Davis said. “We don't want to be this pushover team, guys come in and do whatever they want. That's how we want to look at ourselves.”
Davis was his usual sensational self in the game, gathering 29 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in the cornerstone victory.
Warriors skeptics may look at the last few days and see some slippage. After getting trounced by the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, they lost to an inferior Pelicans squad Tuesday after what could be seen as a stroke a hubris.
More likely, Golden State is just finally displaying some signs of malaise after having their foot on the pedal all season and racing out to a historically dominant record. The Warriors have had the West’s top seed locked down for a while now, and they may be getting a bit bored by the spate of exhibition games standing between them and a title run.
But if they draw Davis in the first round — a scenario that looks more likely with every Oklahoma City Thunder loss — they’ll have a compelling initial challenge on their hands.
— John Wilmes