NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis picked up his dribble along the baseline and pulled up for a tough, 14-foot fallaway Sunday night as he was fouled by Abdel Nader of the Boston Celtics.

As the shot fell through to cap another big night for him, the crowd rose and Davis exchanged high-fives with fans along the sideline before making his foul shot. It seemed a fitting punctuation to the type of performance New Orleans will continue to need to survive a tight Western Conference playoff race.

Davis had 34 points and 11 rebounds, and New Orleans defeated banged-up Boston, 108-89.

“It was a good bounce-back game for us,” Davis said, referring to New Orleans’ 107-101 loss a night earlier to Houston. “A tough one last night and then come in (against) the No. 1 defensive team and score on them, but then hold them to under 100.”

Cheick Diallo had a season-high 17 points and fellow reserve Nikola Mirotic added 16 for New Orleans, which was desperate to win after dropping four of its previous five while in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. The victory pulled the Pelicans into a tie with San Antonio and Utah for fifth, with Minnesota a half-game back in eighth.

Davis’ crowd-pleasing fallaway with 3:35 left capped a 22-6 fourth-quarter run to blow open what had been a tight game for most of the first three quarters.


Davis said contributions from reserves allowed the starters to get more rest and be fresh for that decisive run.

“We defended and then we were pushing the pace, got into the offense a little early and were able to make some plays,” Davis said.

Davis also threw down his share of crowd-pleasing dunks, some of which were set up by lobs from a former Celtic, Rajon Rondo, who finished with 11 assists.

Davis “dominated tonight,” said Boston forward Al Horford, who was Davis’ primary defender. “I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Jayson Tatum scored 23 for Boston, which has lost 3 of 4 and was playing its third straight game without either Kyrie Irving (sore left knee) or Marcus Smart (sprained right thumb). Marcus Morris scored 17 points and Terry Rozier had 13 for the Celtics, who scored only 13 points on 4-of-20 shooting in the fourth quarter.

“For whatever reason, I thought we looked a step slow, but obviously we are going to have moments where we struggle to score with this group right now,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said.

“We also rushed some shots and then they got into that rhythm and got it going. (The Pelicans) have been a good offensive team all year and they were hard to stop.”

Irving had been listed as questionable coming in, but Stevens said the club doesn’t want to push him to play through pain at this point and wants him closer to full health.

Horford scored six points, less than half of his average.

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