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Davis, Mirotic lead Pelicans past Rockets 131-112

HOUSTON (AP) Anthony Davis couldn't help but notice James Harden's freshly minted MVP trophy sitting at midcourt before a ceremony during warmups on Wednesday night.

After Harden hoisted the trophy for the first time before the Toyota Center home crowd and received a few MVP chants throughout the night, Davis began to make an MVP case of his own.

Davis had 32 points, 16 rebounds and a career-high eight assists while Nikola Mirotic scored 30 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 131-112 win over the Houston Rockets in their season opener.

''When it was sitting there before the game, I glanced at it, and then I had to lock back in for the game,'' Davis said. ''That stuff will take care of itself. As long as we keep doing what we're doing as a team, the rest will come on its own.''

Davis added three blocks and three steals, while Mirotic shot a sizzling 6 of 8 from 3-point range, and Julius Randle had 25 points off the bench.

''We moved the basketball and we made shots, but we put our hats on and defended,'' Davis said. ''To come out with a win against a team like that after the season they had and coming off the season we had, we wanted to come out and set a tempo for ourselves.''

Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 21 points off the bench, while P.J. Tucker and Chris Paul both added 19 points. James Harden had 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

''A little bit of legs and non-communication and giving them easy points, easy opportunities -- a little bit of everything,'' Harden said. ''But first game, you just continue to build those good habits and continue to get better every single game. We'll be all right.''

The Pelicans dominated the first half, taking an early lead and never relinquished it as they hammered the undersized Rockets in the paint. New Orleans led 71-54 at the break and led by 29 points in the second half. The Pelicans outrebounded the Rockets 54-37.

''It was a good win for us, but to be honest, we feel like if we play at the level we're supposed to -- we're not surprised,'' Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. ''We played exactly how we have to in order to beat that team.''

New Orleans dominated Houston in paint scoring, 76-44, and also shot 40 percent on 10 of 25 shooting from 3, compared with a rusty 33.3 percent (16 of 48) from the Rockets.

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni didn't seem overly alarmed by the defensive display, praising New Orleans' energy.

''They played harder, longer and did a better job,'' D'Antoni said. ''They played great, but at the same time, there was a period in there where we got really tired and then trying to figure things out, being tired doesn't work, and we didn't have the energy and we kind of let go of the rope at the end of the first half. We obviously have some things to work on, we've got to get our legs and then go after it.''

Coming off the bench for Houston with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, Rockets offseason pickup Carmelo Anthony received a standing ovation when he entered the game wearing his trademark headband and the No. 7. Anthony made his first two shot attempts, the first, from 3, and finished 3-of-10 shooting for nine points in 27 minutes.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: C Jahlil Okafor (right ankle sprain) entered the game late in the fourth quarter, playing less than two minutes.

Rockets: PG Michael Carter-Williams (left knee soreness) played on a minutes restriction as a precaution, with D'Antoni setting the cap around 15 minutes. Carter-Williams played 16 minutes and had 10 points. ... Centers Nene (right calf tightness) and Zhou Qi (left knee sprain) did not play.

MOMENT OF SILENCE

Before the game, the Rockets honored the life of late Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen on the big screen wearing a Portland hat, offering a tribute and moment of silence. Allen, a Microsoft co-founder who also owned the Seattle Seahawks, died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to his company Vulcan Inc. He was 65.

A PERFECT 10

Elfrid Payton's minimalist triple-double made him the first player to record exactly 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a single game since March 2, 2013 when Kyle Lowry did it for Toronto. It was Payton's 11th career triple-double.

HE SAID IT

''For all you analytics guys, we're not winning 82 (games) this year. That's done, that's all about how it's been proven.'' - D'Antoni.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Host Kings on Friday.

Rockets: At Lakers on Saturday.

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

Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Cheick Diallo 0:01
  Gerald Green missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:02
  Double dribble turnover on Jahlil Okafor 0:14
  Bad pass turnover on Michael Carter-Williams, stolen by E'Twaun Moore 0:29
  Traveling violation turnover on Jahlil Okafor 0:29
+ 3 James Ennis III made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Michael Carter-Williams 0:41
  Team rebound 0:44
+ 1 E'Twaun Moore made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:54
+ 1 E'Twaun Moore made 1st of 2 free throws 0:54
  Personal foul on Chris Paul 0:54
+ 3 Chris Paul made 3-pt. jump shot 1:00
Team Stats
Points 131 112
Field Goals 52-98 (53.1%) 39-92 (42.4%)
3-Pointers 10-25 (40.0%) 16-48 (33.3%)
Free Throws 17-22 (77.3%) 18-24 (75.0%)
Total Rebounds 61 49
Offensive 14 8
Defensive 40 29
Team 7 12
Assists 36 21
Steals 8 8
Blocks 3 7
Turnovers 12 11
Fouls 25 22
Technicals 0 1
32 PTS, 16 REB, 8 AST
18 PTS, 9 REB, 10 AST
1234T
away team logo Pelicans 1-0 35363030131
home team logo Rockets 0-1 29253028112
Team Stats
away team logo Pelicans 1-0 115.7 PPG 47.3 RPG 27.1 APG
home team logo Rockets 0-1 113.2 PPG 41.5 RPG 21.1 APG
Key Players
A. Davis PF 26.2 PPG 12.0 RPG 3.9 APG 51.8 FG%
E. Gordon SG 16.5 PPG 2.4 RPG 2.1 APG 40.4 FG%
Top Scorers
A. Davis PF 32 PTS 16 REB 8 AST
E. Gordon SG 21 PTS 3 REB 1 AST
53.1 FG% 42.4
40.0 3PT FG% 33.3
77.3 FT% 75.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
A. Davis 32 16 8 13/21 0/0 6/7 5 39 3 3 1 2 14 +23 69
N. Mirotic 30 10 3 11/20 6/8 2/3 1 29 0 0 1 7 3 +14 45
E. Moore 21 3 2 8/12 1/3 4/4 5 33 1 0 2 2 1 +30 27
J. Holiday 10 3 8 5/12 0/6 0/0 3 38 2 0 3 0 3 +26 28
E. Payton 10 10 10 5/13 0/2 0/2 3 36 1 0 1 1 9 +23 40
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
A. Davis 32 16 8 13/21 0/0 6/7 5 39 3 3 1 2 14 +23 69
N. Mirotic 30 10 3 11/20 6/8 2/3 1 29 0 0 1 7 3 +14 45
E. Moore 21 3 2 8/12 1/3 4/4 5 33 1 0 2 2 1 +30 27
J. Holiday 10 3 8 5/12 0/6 0/0 3 38 2 0 3 0 3 +26 28
E. Payton 10 10 10 5/13 0/2 0/2 3 36 1 0 1 1 9 +23 40
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Randle 25 8 3 9/15 2/4 5/6 4 23 0 0 0 2 6 +5 39
S. Hill 3 2 1 1/3 1/1 0/0 2 12 0 0 0 0 2 -13 7
D. Miller 0 0 1 0/2 0/1 0/0 2 19 1 0 2 0 0 -5 1
J. Okafor 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 -2 -2
K. Williams 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
C. Diallo 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 -2 2
F. Jackson 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
W. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Clark - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Frazier - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Bluiett - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 131 54 36 52/98 10/25 17/22 25 233 8 3 12 14 40 +95 256
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
P. Tucker 19 2 1 6/11 4/7 3/4 2 34 1 1 0 0 2 -13 25
C. Paul 19 5 6 6/12 3/7 4/5 3 32 2 0 1 0 5 -19 37
J. Harden 18 9 10 6/15 3/8 3/4 2 34 3 1 4 2 7 -23 47
J. Ennis III 8 1 0 3/7 2/5 0/0 4 24 1 0 0 1 0 -5 10
C. Capela 8 8 1 4/9 0/0 0/0 3 26 0 1 1 3 5 -14 18
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
P. Tucker 19 2 1 6/11 4/7 3/4 2 34 1 1 0 0 2 -13 25
C. Paul 19 5 6 6/12 3/7 4/5 3 32 2 0 1 0 5 -19 37
J. Harden 18 9 10 6/15 3/8 3/4 2 34 3 1 4 2 7 -23 47
J. Ennis III 8 1 0 3/7 2/5 0/0 4 24 1 0 0 1 0 -5 10
C. Capela 8 8 1 4/9 0/0 0/0 3 26 0 1 1 3 5 -14 18
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
E. Gordon 21 3 1 7/14 2/9 5/5 0 29 0 0 0 0 3 -11 26
M. Carter-Williams 10 4 2 4/10 1/3 1/2 3 17 0 2 3 1 3 +3 17
C. Anthony 9 4 0 3/10 1/5 2/4 4 27 0 1 2 1 3 -20 12
G. Clark 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 +2 0
I. Hartenstein 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 +2 0
G. Green 0 1 0 0/4 0/4 0/0 1 10 1 1 0 0 1 +3 3
B. Knight - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
V. Edwards - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Chriss - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Qi - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Nene - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 112 37 21 39/92 16/48 18/24 22 235 8 7 11 8 29 -95 195