NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis had 29 points and 14 rebounds, and New Orleans defeated the struggling Milwaukee Bucks 112-104 on Friday night.
Tyreke Evans scored 25 points for the Pelicans, who’ve won two straight after losing their previous eight games. Anthony Morrow added 16 points, including a 3-pointer as he was fouled to give the Pelicans their largest lead at 100-90 with 4:50 left. Brian Roberts scored 14 and Eric Gordon 12 for New Orleans.
Khris Middleton scored 25 for Milwaukee, which lost its second straight. Jeff Adrien added a career-high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Ramon Sessions had 16 points and Brandon Knight 15.
Milwaukee entered the game without starting forward Ersan Ilyasova, suspended for throwing a punch in a game Wednesday. The Bucks then lost guard O.J. Mayo to an ejection for a flagrant-2 foul late in the first quarter.
There were 24 lead changes in what turned out to be a highly competitive, action-filled game between a pair of struggling teams with no hope of making the playoffs.
The Pelicans shot 50 percent (42 of 84) but struggled to build a significant lead because the Bucks managed to shoot 45 percent (40 of 89) despite missing two of their more productive scorers.
Milwaukee led 79-78 after Sessions’ driving layup opened the fourth quarter, but Davis’ driving layup and 15-foot jumper sparked a 10-2 run that put the Pelicans in front for good.
Neither team led by more than five points in the first half, when there were 20 lead changes.
Davis, coming off his 28-point, 15-rebound performance in a victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, paced New Orleans early with 16 first-half points.
Middleton had 10 early points for the Bucks, who did not score from outside the paint in the entire first half.
Mayo, who averages 12.1 points per game, had taken only one missed shot when he was ejected after less than three minutes on the court.
Mayo collided with Pelicans center Greg Stiemsma, who was setting a screen, the appeared to shove or punch Stiemsma with a flailing arm. Pelicans coach Monty Williams rushed onto the court to pull Stiemsma away from the confrontation. Officials initially called a flagrant foul, then upgraded the severity to a flagrant-2, resulting in the ejection, after video review.
Still, the Bucks were clinging to a one-point lead when Roberts hit 5-foot floater as he was fouled for a three-point play, giving New Orleans a 51-49 halftime lead.
NOTES: Davis has now surpassed 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game 21 times this season, and he has 29 double-doubles overall. … Pelicans reserve center Jeff Withey, a rookie, grabbed a career-high eight rebounds in 14:29. … Middleton’s 25 points were more than double his average of 11.7 coming in and four short of his career high of 29.