The New Orleans Pelicans came apart over the last, oh, 13 minutes or so of last night’s game and wound up losing pretty one-sidedly to the Utah Jazz, at home. Please do not let that distract you too much from the hilarious wonder of Anthony Davis’s 25-point, 11-rebound, 10-block triple double.
If you want to pick a favorite highlight, there’s an absurd buffet of options, here. I like the block at around 1:20 in the video, when Davis uses his eyes and the angle of his body to bait Royce O’Neale into trying to finish a dribble-drive at the rim, only to explode toward him at the last second and swat the ball into the stands: A lookaway block! Neat!
Then again I am also partial to the one at 1:52, where Davis just completely engulfs Donovan Mitchell, one of the NBA’s shiftiest and most elusive scorers, in the middle of the lane and palms his little sideways runner into the floor. I also am extremely into the sequence at around 2:38, when Davis snakes a hand over Rudy Gobert’s shoulder to block his point-blank shot attempt, gathers the ball, and takes it from baseline to baseline, driving past Derrick Favors and a Euro-flailing Ricky Rubio for the smooth finish!
I think my favorite highlight of all, though, is the one at the 3:00 mark, when a fired-up Royce O’Neale, playing from ahead and with momentum, sees Davis appearing to loaf his way back in transition and hits the jets, looking to get some revenge for the earlier block with a highlight dunk. Was Davis baiting him again? You betcha! Can you guess what happens to that dunk? I think you can! Does Royce O’Neale have to retire now? Hell the hell yes he does!
This was the first triple-double of Davis’s career, and the 10 blocks are a career high. It was also his return to action after an ankle sprain caused him to miss the previous game; that may go some distance to explaining why he faded down the stretch of this one. But it was also his 25th birthday—he’s only 25!—and a reminder of what it can look like when Davis, whose engagement on defense has not always been the most dedicated these past couple years, decides to soar around like the superhuman monster he is and challenge every shot attempt that his absurd athletic range and ludicrous wingspan put within reach. Which, as it took the Jazz a while to figure out yesterday, is pretty much all of them.