NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When Anthony Davis wasn't soaring to the rim to slam down alley-oop lobs, Nikola Mirotic was burying a barrage of 3s that had the crowd chanting his name.
By the end of the night, the New Orleans Pelicans were getting a standing ovation for their highest single-game point total in franchise history.
Mirotic scored 36 points, Anthony Davis had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the pace-pushing Pelicans continued their torrid start to the season with a 149-129 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
"We've been just playing fast, sharing the ball, playing very unselfish," Mirotic said. "I think we're going to be big trouble for the rest of the teams."
Jrue Holiday had 15 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, who shot 58.9 percent (56 of 95) and reached 110 points in the third quarter.
"We could have had more if we made free throws," Davis noted, alluding to New Orleans' 21-of-33 effort from the foul line. "But for the most part, offensively, our team can pretty much put the ball in the basket."
Julius Randle and Ian Clark each scored 13, and Randle also had 13 rebounds for New Orleans, which opened the season with a surprising 131-112 victory at Houston on Wednesday and has scored at least 30 points in each of its first eight quarters, so far.
Davis said 30-point periods "hopefully" will remain a regular occurrence.
"Our thing is making sure the other team doesn't have 30, but if we can get 30-plus every quarter, more than likely we're going to win those games," Davis said.
Willie Cauley-Stein scored 20 points and Marvin Bagley III had 19 for Sacramento, which has lost its first two games. De'Aaron Fox and Frank Mason each scored 18 for the Kings, who shot 52.1 percent, but couldn't keep up with the Pelicans, who combined for 35 assists on their 56 baskets and had eight players with 10 or more points.
"I saw some really good things offensively tonight," Kings coach Dave Joerger said. "I see, certainly, a lot of things defensively that can be learned through experience that just takes time as younger guys learn how to play against older guys. I am not fired up about giving up 149, but I do like what I see from a lot of our guys."
Kings: Former Pelicans first-round draft choice Buddy Hield scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. ... C Kosta Koufos was out with a right hamstring strain.
Pelicans: New Orleans finished with 16 3-pointers on 31 attempts (51.6 percent). ... New Orleans outscored Sacramento 76-70 in the paint and outrebounded the Kings 52-39. ... Mirotic finished 14 of 21 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3. ... Randle played nearly 25 minutes despite being on New Orleans' injury list with left plantar fasciitis. ... G Elfrid Payton had 11 points to go with six rebounds and six assists in his second game with New Orleans after getting a triple-double in his debut. ... Darius Miller scored 10 points. ... The Pelicans are 2-0 for the first time since 2011-12.
Mirotic hit three 3s in quick succession in the middle of the fourth quarter, the third a step-back shot from the right wing, drawing chants of "Ni-ko! Ni-ko!" from the crowd.
The Montenegro native said he hadn't had a moment like that since he was a 19-year-old in Madrid, scoring in bunches during a EuroLeague game.
"It was really good to remember those days and to happen in the NBA it's kind of even better," Mirotic said. "So I'm just happy. I'm going to go home. I'm going to be with my wife, son and obviously I'm going to watch that game again."
The Pelicans penchant for setting each other up produced some memorable highlights.
In the first half, Holiday was dribbling across the lane when he lofted a right-handed lob that looked like a running hook. Davis soared to palm the ball with his right hand and slam it down in one motion.
Later, Davis grabbed an offensive rebound as he crashed to the court, and from his back flipped a pass to Holiday, who drove down the lane for a layup.
Kings: Visit Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
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Posted on Mon, October 22, 2018
by By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer