UK Men's Basketball

NBA notes: Anthony Davis 'just starting to scratch the surface'; 'focused' DeMarcus Cousins leads Kings past T'wolves

Anthony Davis wanted to come out strong to help the New Orleans Pelicans end their road swing with a win. He got off to a fast start and kept it going.

Davis had a career-high 43 points and 14 rebounds, Jrue Holiday added 19 points and eight assists, and the Pelicans beat the Utah Jazz 106-94 on Saturday night in Salt Lake City.

Davis shot 16-for-23 from the field to help the Pelicans earn a split of their four-game western road trip.

"All of our guards did a great job of finding me and making sure I got the ball in my sweet spot," Davis said. "Then it was my job to knock them down. It was a testament to my team. They know I try to get going early, so they give me the ball — knowing they're going to have a lot of shots during the course of the game."

Gordon Hayward scored 31 points and Trey Burke had a season-high 20 for the Jazz. It wasn't nearly enough to keep pace with Davis.

"There was never really an opportunity to double him, because he goes so quickly when he gets the ball," Jazz Coach Quin Snyder said. "It's a real challenge. The thing you can't do is give him some easy baskets."

New Orleans steadily built a big lead behind clutch shooting from Davis. He hit all five shots and all four free throws he attempted in the second quarter and had 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting in the first half alone. His final basket of the half capped a 17-5 run to give the Pelicans a 56-38 lead with 1:44 remaining before halftime.

"He never lost his rhythm," Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said. "He'd come out of the game and come right back and get right back into it again. We know he's a special player who's just starting to scratch the surface."

■ Davis' previous career high was 40 points against Boston on March 16, 2014.

Cousins lifts sluggish Kings over Wolves

The Sacramento Kings were facing an opponent missing four starters and playing on the second night of a back-to-back — a scenario that scared the daylights out of Coach Mike Malone.

His young Kings are just getting the taste of success, and the coach worried about a let-down. DeMarcus Cousins wouldn't allow that to happen.

Cousins had 31 points and 18 rebounds to power the Sacramento Kings to a 113-101 victory over the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday in Minneapolis.

"These are scary games because I mean you look at a team's record and you think, 'Oh this is a win,'" Cousins said. "And guys come out and play to the level of competition and whatever the case may be and then they come out with a loss but then we came in that second half and played the right type, well, better basketball."

Cousins hit 11 of 15 shots and Ben McLemore had 22 points and nine rebounds to help the Kings overcome a sluggish start and improve to an eye-opening 8-5.

"I don't know if there's a better center in the league, the way he's playing," Wolves Coach Flip Saunders said of Cousins, whom the Wolves passed on in the 2010 draft in favor of Wes Johnson. "He's got his head screwed on straight. That was always a question mark. He seems to be very focused."

Wizards taking next step

Washington Wizards Coach Randy Wittman is watching his team grow up and become a contender.

One night after knocking off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Wizards rallied behind John Wall and Paul Pierce, after falling behind by 15 points in the first half, to beat the host Milwaukee Bucks 111-100 on Saturday.

Pierce led the Wizards with 25 points, hitting several key shots down the stretch, and Wall added 19 points and nine assists.

Wittman said he was disappointed with the way his team started after its big win over the Cavaliers.

"We threw the ball over the place to start the game," he said. "We were able to right the ship late in the second quarter. In years past, we may not have been able to recover."

Wall said the Bucks came out and "hit us in the mouth."

"In the past, we would have folded and lost by 30," he said. "But we dug deep and played hard. Once we got the lead, we never looked back."

Wall said the game was very important after Friday's win.

"You don't win last night on the big stage and then come out here and get beat," he said. "Otherwise, what was the point of winning that game? This is a big statement for our team."

The Wizards, at 9-3, have the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 27 points.

Young makes quick trip back to D-League

The Boston Celtics sent rookie guard James Young to Maine to play in the Red Claws' NBA D-League game Sunday.

The former UK standout had 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots in a 120-102 win against Delaware.

Young, expected to back with the Celtics on Monday, scored 21 points for Maine in his only other D-League game this season.

■ There are four ex-Cats currently on D-League rosters: Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague, Ramon Harris and Eloy Vargas.