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Mirotic, Davis lead Pelicans to blowout win over Suns

PHOENIX (AP) It's been three years since the New Orleans Pelicans made the postseason, and they're trying to enjoy the playoff chase during crunch time in the hotly contested Western Conference.

''To be back in that situation is good for us, but we're going to enjoy it and have fun with it,'' Anthony Davis said.

Nikola Mirotic scored a season-high 31 points and tied a season best with 16 rebounds, and Davis had 33 points and 11 boards in the Pelicans'122-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

''The coaches did a great job trying to find me, to get some plays for me,'' Mirotic said. ''I felt very confident, especially with my defense, and I think when I feel that confident defensively, my offense comes.''

Jrue Holiday added 22 points and 10 assists to help the Pelicans move into a tie for the West's fifth seed with idle San Antonio and Oklahoma City. New Orleans (45-34) won its second straight after losing four in a row.

''More fun than anything. It's why we play the game,'' Holiday said of the playoff run.

The Pelicans led by double digits throughout the entire fourth quarter.

Marquese Chriss led Phoenix with 23 points and rookie Josh Jackson added 22 points and 11 rebounds. The Suns have lost 16 of 17 and are closer to clinching the NBA's worst record.

''Just wanting to learn every game,'' Jackson said. ''I've come a long way, I think, and I just owe it to being a student of the game and wanting to become better.''

Davis had 13 points and six rebounds in the first quarter alone, and Mirotic scored 15 points in the period. The Pelicans attempted 18 3-pointers in the first and made eight, building a 39-21 lead after 12 minutes.

The Suns cut the Pelicans' lead to 11 in the second quarter, but couldn't get closer in the first half.

Jackson took a forceful elbow from Holiday to his jaw and hit the floor on a drive with 3:20 to go. Jackson was called for a foul, and the Suns bench protested vehemently enough that veteran Jared Dudley was ejected seven seconds later.

''They (officials) said `We missed the call, we blew the call, but there was nothing flagrant about it,''' Suns coach Jay Triano said.

Davis scored 14 points in the second quarter, 10 over the final 1:38 before halftime, and New Orleans led 63-46.

The Pelicans scored only four points in the first six minutes of the third quarter to help the Suns cut the lead to 71-62 on the second of back-to-back 3s from Dragan Bender. The Pelicans finished the quarter on a 15-8 run to lead 86-70.

TIP-INS

PELICANS: Davis reached 30 points for the 31st time this season, second-most in the NBA behind LeBron James' 32. ... G Jordan Crawford, re-signed on Thursday, scored 13 points in nine minutes of action. ... G Ian Clark missed the game with an illness and sprained right ankle.

SUNS: Guard Danuel House made his first career NBA start. He replaced injured guard Troy Daniels, who sprained his right ankle in Tuesday's win over Sacramento. ... Also out Friday for the Suns: G Devin Booker (right hand), and G Elfrid Payton, F T.J. Warren and F Alan Williams, all with knee injuries, forcing the Suns to use their 33rd different starting lineup of the season. ... Jackson, before leaving the game late when he took a knee to his upper leg, reached at least 15 points for the 12th straight game.

BOOK(ED) FOR USA BASKETBALL

Booker was among 35 players named to the 2018-20 USA men's national team roster who are expected to attend its minicamp in Las Vegas in July. Players from that group are expected to form the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympic teams.

Pelicans stars Davis and DeMarcus Cousins were also named to the player pool.

DUNK CONTEST

Both teams dunked on each other in successive possessions late in the third quarter. Jackson elevated for a jam off a pass from Alex Len for Phoenix, then Davis threw down a lob from Rajon Rondo eight seconds later.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Saturday at Golden State.

Suns: Host Golden State Sunday in their home finale.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
A. Davis
23 PF
E. Payton
2 PG
28.7 Min. Per Game 28.7
12.7 Pts. Per Game 12.7
6.2 Ast. Per Game 6.2
4.3 Reb. Per Game 4.3
53.5 Field Goal % 49.3
53.6 Three Point % 49.3
83.5 Free Throw % 64.9
+ 2 Shaquille Harrison made driving dunk 0:11
+ 2 Cheick Diallo made layup, assist by DeAndre Liggins 0:14
+ 3 Shaquille Harrison made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Davon Reed 0:34
+ 3 Jordan Crawford made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by DeAndre Liggins 0:52
  Defensive rebound by Cheick Diallo 1:01
  Alec Peters missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:04
  Team rebound 1:11
  DeAndre Liggins missed driving layup 1:11
  Defensive rebound by Cheick Diallo 1:18
  Marquese Chriss missed 2nd of 2 free throws 1:21
+ 1 Marquese Chriss made 1st of 2 free throws 1:21
Team Stats
Points 122 103
Field Goals 45-99 (45.5%) 37-94 (39.4%)
3-Pointers 16-38 (42.1%) 9-33 (27.3%)
Free Throws 16-20 (80.0%) 20-26 (76.9%)
Total Rebounds 65 56
Offensive 13 12
Defensive 42 36
Team 10 8
Assists 29 20
Steals 9 8
Blocks 7 4
Turnovers 15 14
Fouls 22 18
Technicals 0 1
33 PTS, 11 REB, 3 AST
23 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST
1234T
away team logo Pelicans 45-34 39242336122
home team logo Suns 20-60 21252433103
Team Stats
away team logo Pelicans 45-34 118.0 PPG 47.7 RPG 27.1 APG
home team logo Suns 20-60 102.2 PPG 40 RPG 23.5 APG
Key Players
A. Davis PF 27.4 PPG 12.2 RPG 4.8 APG 50.2 FG%
M. Chriss PF PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
A. Davis PF 33 PTS 11 REB 3 AST
M. Chriss PF 23 PTS 8 REB 2 AST
45.5 FG% 39.4
42.1 3PT FG% 27.3
80.0 FT% 76.9
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Davis 34 33 11 3 2 3 0 2 11/23 2/4 9/11 1 10 55 +28
N. Mirotic 35 31 16 2 0 1 1 4 11/25 5/11 4/4 5 11 51 +27
J. Holiday 31 22 6 10 2 2 2 2 8/15 4/6 2/4 3 3 50 +33
R. Rondo 24 6 3 4 1 0 2 2 3/6 0/3 0/0 0 3 16 -3
E. Moore 24 6 2 1 1 0 2 2 3/8 0/2 0/0 1 1 9 +16
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Davis 34 33 11 3 2 3 0 2 11/23 2/4 9/11 1 10 55 +28
N. Mirotic 35 31 16 2 0 1 1 4 11/25 5/11 4/4 5 11 51 +27
J. Holiday 31 22 6 10 2 2 2 2 8/15 4/6 2/4 3 3 50 +33
R. Rondo 24 6 3 4 1 0 2 2 3/6 0/3 0/0 0 3 16 -3
E. Moore 24 6 2 1 1 0 2 2 3/8 0/2 0/0 1 1 9 +16
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Crawford 9 13 0 2 1 0 1 1 4/7 4/7 1/1 0 0 17 0
D. Miller 31 7 4 2 2 0 3 2 3/7 1/3 0/0 0 4 14 +14
C. Diallo 17 2 8 0 0 1 3 4 1/1 0/0 0/0 2 6 8 -10
E. Okafor 6 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 1 5 0
D. Liggins 6 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0 0 4 -9
C. Cooke 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 -5
S. Hill 15 0 4 2 0 0 1 2 0/3 0/2 0/0 1 3 7 +4
A. Ajinca - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Cousins - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Clark - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Drew - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
F. Jackson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Lemon Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 122 55 29 9 7 15 22 45/99 16/38 16/20 13 42 236 +95
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
M. Chriss 26 23 8 2 1 0 2 4 7/13 1/4 8/10 3 5 34 -13
J. Jackson 29 22 11 1 2 1 4 3 7/24 0/4 8/10 6 5 34 -17
T. Ulis 30 16 5 4 2 0 3 2 7/13 2/3 0/0 0 5 28 -28
D. Bender 33 14 8 1 0 1 2 1 5/10 4/8 0/0 1 7 23 -13
D. House 34 5 3 3 0 2 1 1 2/9 0/4 1/2 0 3 15 -21
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
M. Chriss 26 23 8 2 1 0 2 4 7/13 1/4 8/10 3 5 34 -13
J. Jackson 29 22 11 1 2 1 4 3 7/24 0/4 8/10 6 5 34 -17
T. Ulis 30 16 5 4 2 0 3 2 7/13 2/3 0/0 0 5 28 -28
D. Bender 33 14 8 1 0 1 2 1 5/10 4/8 0/0 1 7 23 -13
D. House 34 5 3 3 0 2 1 1 2/9 0/4 1/2 0 3 15 -21
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
S. Harrison 29 13 4 5 2 0 0 0 5/10 1/1 2/2 1 3 29 +1
A. Len 18 5 4 2 0 0 1 4 2/5 0/1 1/2 1 3 12 -17
D. Reed 19 5 3 2 0 0 0 0 2/7 1/5 0/0 0 3 12 +8
J. Dudley 6 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 1 2 +3
A. Peters 11 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 0/2 0/2 0/0 0 1 0 +2
B. Knight - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Daniels - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Payton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Warren - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Booker - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Chandler - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 103 48 20 8 4 14 18 37/94 9/33 20/26 12 36 189 -95