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Davis wins over Pelicans fans irked by trade request

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By Agence France-Presse

Anthony Davis scored 32 points to turn jeers to cheers on Friday, leading the New Orleans Pelicans to a 122-117 NBA victory over Minnesota in his first game since asking to be traded.

The Pelicans didn’t ship out their superstar by Thursday’s trade deadline, and with the finger injury that had sidelined him healed he was back in the Pelicans starting lineup.

Boos from the home fans greeted his pre-game introduction, and continued whenever he touched the ball in the early going.

Davis shook off the awkwardness, scoring 10 quick points and finishing the first half with 24. He grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots in 25 minutes on the court.

“It just feels good to be back on the floor playing the game that I love,” Davis said. “I’m going to be here the rest of the year. My job is to play basketball and that’s all I want to do.”

He sat out the entire fourth quarter as the Timberwolves made a late push, closing the gap to 114-112 on a dunk from Karl-Anthony Towns with 39 seconds left.

Towns finished with 32 points for Minnesota, but Jrue Holiday, Kenrich Williams and Julius Randle got the job done in the waning seconds.

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said the decision not to send Davis back into the game when things got close was to do with his lack of recent playing time.

“I was not going have him, first game back, play 38-40 minutes,” Gentry said. “That’s why he didn’t go back in the game.”

In a battle of the Western Conference’s first and worst, reigning champions and West leaders Golden State out-scored the Phoenix Suns 35-22 in the fourth quarter on the way to a 117-107 victory.

All five Warriors starters scored in double figures, led by 25 points from guard Klay Thompson.

But a far from crisp performance saw the Warriors cough up 18 turnovers. Stephen Curry missed 10 of his first 11 shots before finding his groove to score 20 points.

Forward Draymond Green was ejected between the third and fourth quarters for arguing with officials, and the lowly Suns led 94-88 with 8:35 to play.

The Warriors responded with a 13-0 scoring run to regain control.

Eastern Conference leaders Milwaukee notched their sixth straight win in convincing style, 122-107 over the Mavericks in Dallas.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for the Bucks, who out-scored the Mavs 80-26 in the paint and scored 29 points off of 14 Dallas turnovers.

– Harris shines in 76ers debut –
Philadelphia’s JJ Redick scored a season-high 34 points and Jimmy Butler added 22 as the new-look 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets 117-110.

Tobias Harris scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds in his first game for the 76ers, who acquired him at the trade deadline along with Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Joel Embiid shrugged off a stomach virus to score 15 with 12 rebounds for the Sixers.

In a fourth quarter that saw six lead changes, Harris’s floater gave Philadelphia a 105-103 lead with 3:56 to play. He pulled down a rebound to set up a layup by Embiid. Butler then grabbed a steal and was fouled, making two free throws to stretch the lead before Ben Simmons’ dunk pushed the advantage to 111-105.

“It was a great game, I feel amazing,” Harris said of his Sixers debut. “You couldn’t ask for any better.”

The Nuggets, who shared the Western Conference lead with the Golden State Warriors last weekend, lost their third straight, despite Nikola Jokic’s triple-double of 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

In Washington, the Wizards spoiled the return from injury of Cleveland star Kevin Love, downing the Cavaliers 119-106.

Love, who missed 50 games after surgery on his left foot, played six minutes and 29 seconds before he was subbed out, scoring four points with one rebound and one assist.

Bobby Portis led the Wizards with 30 points off the bench in his first game since arriving in Washington Thursday via a trade that sent Otto Porter to Chicago.