PHOENIX — Gotcha.
Anthony Davis fooled the world with his elaborate brow-shaving April Fool’s joke.
Now it is time to get serious.
Davis and his New Orleans Pelicans are one of seven teams still in the scrum for the final five Western Conference playoff spots with six days left in the regular season Brandon Allen Jersey , and their off day Thursday turned into a big day when both the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota lost.
With the Timberwolves’ loss to Denver, the Pelicans (44-34) jumped over Minnesota and moved within one-half game San Antonio and Oklahoma City, who are tied for fifth place at 45-34.
This could be fun.
Davis was at his best when the Pelicans broke a four-game losing streak with a 123-95 victory over Memphis on Wednesday, scoring 28 points with 12 rebounds, three blocked shots, two assists and two steals.
The Pelicans (44-34) will attempt to continue their run Friday against Phoenix (20-59), which broke a franchise-record 15-game losing streak in a 97-94 home victory over Sacramento on Tuesday.
“I was trying to get back to how I was playing, get the team back,” Davis told reporters after playing at less than one hundred percent in the two previous games because of a twisted ankle suffered in a loss to Portland on March 27.
“I know they feed off my energy, so I just try to come out with a lot of energy on both ends of the floor and try to lead us to a win. It was fun, but we’ve got to do the same thing next time we play.”
Davis is averaging 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game, second in the league in scoring and fifth in rebounds. Davis Kenny Golladay Jersey , 6-foot-10, and Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are the only players averaging at least 25 points and 10 rebounds a game.
E’Twaun Moore had 30 points and Nikola Mirotic had 25 points against Memphis, and the Pelicans made 16 3-pointers. Moore had seven threes. Mirotic started in place of Emeka Okafor.
“I thought we did what we needed to,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “I thought our ball movement was good again. I thought (Davis) was very aggressive at the start of the game. We shot the ball well as a team. We needed to see some 3s go in.”
The Pelicans face a daunting final three games as they attempt to get into the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Their three-game road trip continues at Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers before the home finale against San Antonio on Apr. 11.
The Nuggets moved into a tie with Minnesota (both are 44-35) with their 100-96 victory over the Timberwolves Thursday, and both teams are one-half game behind New Orleans. The Clippers fell to (42-37) with a loss to Utah on Thursday and are on the brink of elimination.
The Suns have the worst record in the league and will finish with their fewest losses since the 1968-69 expansion season team (16-66) unless they win their final three games. They are 2-27 since Jan. 31. They won once in February and were 0-14 in March, the first winless full month in franchise history.
Suns forward Josh Jackson had 28 points, six rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block against Sacramento. He has scored at least 15 points in 11 consecutive games, tying Utah guard Donovan Mitchell for the longest streak by a rookie this season. Jackson is averaging 21.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in that stretch.
Jackson has become the Suns’ No. 1 scoring option in the continued absence of Devin Booker, TJ Warren and Elfrid Payton. Booker has missed the last nine games with a sprained right hand and Warren has missed the last eight with a hip injury. Neither is expected to play against New Orleans.
“You kind of welcome the fact that he’s ready to take it,” Suns interim coach Jay Triano said of Jackson’s willingness. “Some guys will panic with two or three seconds to go, worry about (his shooting) percentage.
“But Josh is just thinking Giovani Bernard Jersey , ‘I got to do whatever’s right, I got to put it up, I got to get it on the rim, maybe (Alex) Len can knock it out, maybe Marquese (Chriss) can get a rebound.’ He’s not afraid of the moment, that’s for sure.
“He’s electric in the open court. He’s electric if you get him a little bit of an angle and a lane to the basket. Making shots, and from the perimeter, will be an addition to what he can do. And when he does that it’s going to be great.”
— Hayden Hurst has finally found a sport, position and team that are best suited for his athletic ability: football, tight end, Baltimore Ravens.
After being selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 2012 draft, Hurst pitched in the Gulf Coast League in 2013. He tried first base the following year before calling it a career.
“It wasn’t exactly the easiest three years of my life. But I learned a lot about myself,” Hurst said.
He then played football at South Carolina Anthony Castonzo Jersey , lining up as a wide receiver in 2015 before moving to tight end. In 38 games with the Gamecocks, Hurst scored four touchdowns — one of them on a 2-yard run.
Still, Hurst was impressive enough to be picked 25th overall by the Ravens in the 2018 NFL draft. Just 39 minutes into his first game last Thursday night, the 6-foot-4, 245-pound rookie caught a touchdown pass to help Baltimore beat Chicago 17-16 in the Hall of Fame Game.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Hurst said after Saturday’s practice. “I’m a big body guy, and I like to be utilized in the red zone. I’m a threat there. At South Carolina, I wasn’t used a whole lot in the red zone. Nut here I think they’re going to take advantage of it. So it should be a fun career.”
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has long relied on his tight end for big plays and touchdowns. From Todd Heap to Dennis Pitta to Benjamin Watson, the man in the middle of the field has been a vital component of the Baltimore offense.
Hurst could very well be the newest addition to that impressive list.
“Joe throws to the tight ends a lot. He has a lot of faith in that position,” Hurst noted. “When things kind of break down, he tries to find us. It puts more emphasis on my position.”
Flacco didn’t take a snap in Baltimore’s preseason opener, yet both Baltimore touchdowns were scored by tight ends. Hurst’s 8-yard TD came on a pass from Lamar Jackson, a former Heisman Trophy winner who was after Hurst (32nd overall) but has received far more publicity and acclaim.
“The quarterback gets all the attention. That’s how this league works Henry Anderson Jersey ,” Hurst said. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
Baltimore lists six tight ends on the roster, so the 24-year-old Hurst is going to have to earn playing time. Though he admits he needs to know the playbook better, Hurst has already made a positive impression.
“It was good to see Hayden play well in the first game. That’s the first test,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “The next test is to come back and have a good week of practice and take it into the next game.”
Toward that end, Hurst made a sensational grab between three defenders Saturday, drawing a collective cheer from the fans in attendance.
Not bad for a former baseball player.
“I’m glad I experienced it,” Hurst says of his abbreviated baseball career. “It kind of hardened me, made me the football player that I am today. That’s why I play fast and physical, because I don’t want anything to be taken away from me like I kind of had with baseball.”
In other news, the Ravens activated six-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda from the physically unable to perform list Saturday. Yanda had offseason shoulder surgery and will slowly be worked back into a practice routine.
“Very encouraging,” Harbaugh said. “This was the target date, so he’s right now schedule.”
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