NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tyreke Evans had 22 points and a career-high 15 assists, and the short-handed Pelicans overcame the loss of Anthony Davis to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games, 102-95 victory over Utah on Friday night.
Davis left the game with a left ankle injury less than four minutes in, further depleting New Orleans’ already injury-riddled roster. Evans played point guard for a second straight game, as he did in an upset of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Anthony Morrow scored 20 points, Al-Farouq Aminu added 13, and Austin Rivers and Darius Miller each had 12. Alexis Ajinca, playing extended minutes in Davis’ absence, had 10 rebounds, nine points and three blocks.
Derrick Favors had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost their third straight. Gordon Hayward added 21 points.
The Pelicans entered the game with guards Eric Gordon (left knee tendinitis) and Brian Roberts (left knee bone bruise) already ruled out.
Then, Davis started grimacing during the opening minutes. With 8:17 left in the first quarter, Ajinca was subbed into the game and Davis headed to the locker room, not to return.
Still, the Pelicans managed to maintain the lead for most of the game.
Evans pushed the ball in transition and routinely slashing to the hoop to convert short floaters and layups in traffic. Otherwise, he found players such as Morrow and Miller on the perimeter.
Evans’ layup put the Pelicans up 72-66 heading into the fourth quarter, and his weaving dribble drive for a reverse scoop made it 87-81 with 1:52 left.
Morrow hit three of his four 3-point attempts, the last giving the Pelicans an 85-79 lead with 3:05 left. Ajinca’s three-point play on an 8-foot jumper as he was fouled by Favors made it 90-83 with less than a minute left, but the teams traded a slew of free throws before it was over.
Trey Burke and Marvin Williams each finished with 12 points for Utah, but the Jazz committed 19 turnovers, leading to 33 Pelicans points.
The 6-foot-6 Evans normally plays shooting guard or small forward, but once again looked comfortable at the point while scoring 13 first-half points. The Pelicans led by as much as eight when Morrow’s consecutive jumpers capped an 8-0 run and made it 39-31.
New Orleans blocked seven of Utah’s shots in the first half, with Ajinca responsible for three.
Utah further hurt itself with 11 first-half turnovers leading to 18 Pelicans points, and New Orleans led 43-38 at halftime.
Notes: The Pelicans and Jazz split their previous two meetings. They meet once more on April 4 in Utah. … The Jazz are 8-29 on the road. … Utah plays next Sunday in Oklahoma City. … Evans has hit 20 points 15 times this season and has nine double-doubles. … The Pelicans shot 50.7 percent (36 of 71), marking the third time during their current winning streak they eclipsed the 50 percent mark.