On Friday evening he faces the Golden State Warriors (9:30 ET on ESPN), and the defending Western Conference champs want not only to snatch a road victory at the Smoothie King Center but also to shut Davis down as much as possible.
Davis' supporting cast isn’t very supporting. The Pelicans are making do with a depleted roster. Jrue Holiday is away for a personal matter, and Quincy Pondexter and Tyreke Evans are out with injuries. Currently, the team’s second-best player is arguably 25-year-old journeyman point guard Tim Frazier.
The Warriors could elect to let Davis get his points and eliminate his teammates, but it sounds as if that won’t be the plan.
“Nobody likes getting 50 dropped on them, whether you win or you lose," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said after the Friday morning shootaround. “Even though you obviously want to win, you don’t want to overreact to him making tough shots. If you give up a bunch of transition layups, alley-oops, uncontested shots, then you have issues because that builds confidence. But that other stuff you can live with, with a guy that talented.”
Davis’ full stat line on opening night was 50 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 steals and 4 blocks in 41 minutes. Warriors forward Draymond Green will have the rigorous assignment of keeping Davis in check, but Kevin Durant will also spend some time guarding Davis.
“It’s hard to defend him,” Durant said. “You can’t. His first step is probably the quickest I’ve seen in a while at his position. He’s long, he can shoot it, he can dribble it, he can shoot the 3 -- so he’s doing just about everything out there on the court.”
In addition, Durant made a slight prediction for the season.
“[Anthony Davis is] probably going to lead the league in scoring this year easily ... 50 for him is a good game, and now [he’s like] move it to the next one," Durant said. "It’s kind of a customary night for him, so we’ve got to be prepared tonight.”