The Pelicans reached a hilarious level of pettiness with Anthony Davis Monday night. Davis, who requested a trade ahead of the deadline in February, has been playing limited minutes in limited games due to a peace-making effort between the team, which has no incentive to play him, and the NBA, which doesn’t want one of its top stars sitting out without an injury.
When Davis checked out of the game halfway through the third quarter, that was probably going to be it for him on the night. He had 20 points in 20 minutes, which has been par for the course for him since the Pelicans declined to move him at the trade deadline.
But a neck-and-neck game saw New Orleans up one point on the Dallas Mavericks in the final 5.1 seconds of regulation. The Mavs had the ball for an in-bounds pass, and coach Alvin Gentry sent the 7’6 arms of Davis out to guard the passer. He hadn’t played in over 18 minutes of game time.
That wasn’t the pettiest part, either. The Mavs found themselves at the free-throw line to take the lead after the throw-in, but Luka Doncic missed the first of two free throws. Tie game.
But when the Pels called timeout to set up their final possession of the game with 1.9 seconds to go, they took Davis, one of the best players on Earth, back off the floor. They weren’t going to give him a chance to win the game.
Julius Randle ended up taking and missing the final shot in regulation, though New Orleans won in overtime, 129-125. Davis played zero OT minutes.
To recap: New Orleans put Davis back in to play defense, then denied him the chance to help his team win at the end of regulation and in overtime.
This is the ridiculous level we’ve reached with the very public declaration of Davis’ playing intentions and the franchise’s decision to not trade him at the time of his request. What a farce.