Anthony Davis has appeared in only three NBA games, but he's already shown that he won't be easily intimidated.
Given his response to a little skirmish in New Orleans' last contest, the Houston Rockets may want to avoid getting him angry.
Davis looks to build on his first double-double and help the Hornets to their fourth win in five games when they visit the Rockets on Wednesday night.
After missing two contests with a concussion, Davis returned to the court for New Orleans (3-2) against Charlotte on Friday. He had five points late in the second quarter before a brief tussle with Bobcats big man Byron Mullens seemed to light a fire under the rookie.
Davis posted up Mullens and scored on New Orleans' next possession, and went on to finish with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in a 107-99 victory.
"He's got a bit of an edge about him," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "He's a nice kid. He's the kind of kid you dream of coaching and yet you are not going to push him around."
The way Davis stood up to Mullens earned him respect from his coach and teammates, though fellow Hornets rookie Darius Miller wasn't surprised.
"He plays a lot more aggressive, and with a lot more intensity when he gets angry," said Miller, Davis' former teammate at Kentucky. "So he got kind of mad, a little heated over the situation, and he pretty much dominated the game from then on out. So I've seen him do it before at Kentucky - many times."
Houston big men Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons may not get Davis too angry, but the two solid defenders could present challenges for the No. 1 overall pick. Both players are also coming off career-high scoring outputs, with Parsons finishing with 25 points and Asik adding 19 in a 113-110 loss to Miami on Monday.
The Rockets (3-4), losers of four of five, led by four with 1:20 left and had a chance to take the lead with 10 seconds to play but Jeremy Lin airballed a 3-point attempt.
"Obviously, it's my responsibility to hit that shot," Lin said. "It was a good shot for me, a quality shot and it didn't go in for me, unfortunately, in a crucial play of the game."
Lin hasn't been hitting many of his shots lately, making 36.2 percent and averaging 10.0 points in the last five games.
James Harden is also having a hard time finding his stroke after his sensational start, shooting 33.0 percent from the field and 17.2 percent (5 of 29) from beyond the arc in his last five.
It could be difficult for Harden and company to get on track against a Hornets team that has been tough defensively, allowing an average of 88.6 points and 27.8 percent shooting on 3-pointers.
Ryan Anderson finally found his touch from long range Friday, going 5 for 10 from beyond the arc and finishing with a season-best 25 points. The 6-foot-10 forward, who led the league with 166 3-pointers last season with Orlando, was 8 for 27 (29.6 percent) on 3s in his first four games with the Hornets.
New Orleans lost two of three to the Rockets last season, dropping both meetings in Houston.
The Hornets didn't earn their fourth win of 2011-12 until their 19th game.
New Orleans traded forward Hakim Warrick to Charlotte for guard Matt Carroll on Tuesday. Carroll has played in one game this season.