Just How Historic Was Anthony Davis' Game Against the Pistons?
In the Western Conference, every game counts. Whether a team is battling to gain a higher seed within the playoffs or just trying to get to the playoffs, each win and loss is critical.
Last night, the New Orleans Pelicans, who are fighting for the 8 seed, pulled off a win against the Detroit Pistons, thanks to the last-minute return of Anthony Davis from a shoulder injury.
The Pelicans had gone just 6-5 without Davis this year, and this win allows them to keep pace with the Thunder for the 8 seed. Currently, the Pelicans have a 22.2% chance to make the postseason, so a loss last night would have been devastating.
But on a personal level, Anthony Davis keeps showing us he could be an all-time great in the NBA's history of big men.
Davis tallied 39 points, pulled down 13 rebounds, swatted away 8 shots, stole 3 passes, and assisted on 2 baskets. That stat line happens to be a part of a rare air in the history of the NBA. Only two other players have exceeded some of these benchmarks in one game.
Davis is in very good company as he and only two other players have had at least 39 points, 13 rebounds and 8 blocks in a single game, and one of them is a two-time champion and Hall of Famer. For "The Dream" to hit his numbers, he had to play nearly wire-to-wire against the sixth best defense in 1994-95 season. Olajuwon also stayed out of foul trouble in his historic game and had three assists (to Davis' two) as well. Basketball-reference.com's Game Score rates this game as a 41.0, which is the second-best on this list.
The best game on this short list belongs to Dwight Howard before his days with the Lakers and Rockets. On this list, Howard tallied the most points and most rebounds even though he nearly fouled out (he recorded five fouls), had zero assists, and turned the ball over the most (five times). Still the Game Score for Howard's line was 41.8, just edging out Olajuwon, but it is the only game of the three that came in overtime.
To say Davis' line was historic is almost an understatement. Even if we dropped the baseline to 35 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks and 3 steals, there are only two other names that make that list -- Larry Nance and David Robinson. Nance was a three-time All-Star for the Suns and Cavaliers, and "The Admiral" was a two-time champion and a Hall of Famer.
Davis carried the Pelicans last night and did so with only one turnover and one foul called on him for the night. Russell Westbrook's fourth straight triple-double will likely overshadow "The Brow," but with this line, Davis is allowing us to dream that he could be one of the best big men to ever play in the NBA.