Atlanta -- Known for his tremendous defensive skills, New Orleans Hornets rookie power forward Anthony Davis is showing in the preseason that he can emerge as a dominant scoring threat. In Thursday night’s 97-68 preseason loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena, Davis made his first six shots and had 15 points by halftime before finishing with a game-high 19 points on eight-of-11 shooting.
But Hornets Coach Monty Williams said Davis needs more offensive help from his teammates. With starting shooting guard Eric Gordon missing his fifth consecutive preseason game with a sore right knee and power forward Jason Smith out with a shoulder injury, Davis couldn't save the Hornets from a third-quarter disaster. In the quarter, the Hornets were outscored 26-7 after making only 2-of-19 shots from the field and they trailed by 20 after going into halftime with the score tied at 40.
For nearly the entire quarter, the Hornets stopped running their offense through Davis and kept putting up errant shots late in the shot clock and struggled to get back in transition to defend the Hawks' quick shooters.
"He (Davis) played OK and hit some shots and was active,'' Williams said. "Anthony needs help getting into his sets, we're not getting a lot of execution offensively. This is a man's game and our young guys are starting to realize that man are playing it.''
Davis, 6 feet 10, 220 pounds, who led Kentucky to a national championship last season, didn't appear rattled by the Hawks' more experienced frontline that included fifth-year veteran center Al Horford and eight-year veteran power forward Josh Smith. Most of Davis' first-half scoring came against Smith and Horford. Smith started the game defending Davis before Horford switched on him.
"If a play is designed for me, I just hav to execute it as best as I can,'' Davis said. "We have other guys that can score the ball, so I'm not just trying to go out there trying to look for my shot.
"My offensive game is not where I want it to be, but tonight that wouldn't matter because we lost. That's always most important. I think in the second half we just stopped playing and they getting easy buckets in transition. We just weren't getting back.''