There's no one particularly SportsCenter-y highlight from Anthony Davis's 38-point, 12-rebound, three-block eruption against Oklahoma City last night. He didn't block all three shots in one leap; or tear the entire backboard off the stanchion with a dunk; or, like, spike a dead-on-arrival Kendrick Perkins jumphook into the core of the earth. All of those things seem possible. Anthony Davis's existence is a highlight.
He just did lots of Anthony Davis stuff: He crept along the baseline to score on dump-off passes; he caught and finished a few brazenly irresponsible lobs from teammates who couldn't even see him, the kind you only throw when you have Anthony Davis on your team; he skipped out to the elbow for jumpers; he rocketed out in transition; he made his free throws. Hauled in every rebound in his vicinity at both ends. Contested everything in sight. Y'know, just the stuff Anthony Davis does.
Which, wait just a god damn minute ... that's all the stuff!
My favorite of Davis's 16 buckets comes at 0:10 in the video above, when Jrue Holiday flips an outlet pass three-quarters of the length of the floor, and there's Davis, tracking it over his shoulder on the run, catching it off a bounce, and laying it into the basket in one motion, while getting fouled. What makes me chuckle out loud each time I watch it—and I've watched it a lot!—is how perfunctory it is. Ho hum, just hauling in this deep ball like Calvin Johnson and scoring the and-1 at a full sprint, doot de doot de doo.
Everybody on both teams, and the play-by-play dude, is all, "Yep." As if there's nothing all that unusual about a nearly seven-foot-tall shot-blocking power forward outsprinting two perimeter players in transition and scoring that basket. As if the average NBA big man wouldn't careen into the stands and plow through helpless spectators like a fucking meteor if he so much as imagined doing that. As if Kendrick Perkins wouldn't still be running toward the hoop if he switched places with Davis, just chugging along, pumping his arms, serious, Kendrick Perkins-like, for a month.
The Thunder were without Kevin Durant last night, but were at home, and certainly still had an overall talent edge over the Pelicans—who, it continually must be said, are forced by the limitations of their roster to give 20 or so minutes per night to Austin fucking Rivers, whose game is like Evan Turner's game fucked Justin Bieber's game and had a baby who sucked worse than either of them. In Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, Perk, and Nick Collison, Oklahoma City has one of the toughest, deepest, and most disciplined defensive frontcourts in the NBA. No matter. They might just as well have been a bunch of cranky toddlers, for all the good their combined efforts did to contain Davis. They didn't even foul him all that much. To foul him, they'd have to be able to catch him; all night long, he was wherever they weren't, putting the ball in the basket.
The Pelicans are currently 14-13, eighth in the Western Conference. If the season ended today, they'd face Steph Curry's Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, a prospect that causes my body to emit visible light. So help me God, if Anthony Davis's teammates fuck this up, they belong in fucking prison.