NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis had 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks in his first game back after a concussion, and the New Orleans Hornets handed the Charlotte Bobcats their third straight loss, 107-99 on Friday night.
Ryan Anderson hit five 3-pointers and finished with 25 points for New Orleans, which has won three of its first five games despite being without injured star guard Eric Gordon. Reserve Brian Roberts added 16 points and eight assists and Al-Farouq Aminu scored 14 points.
Ben Gordon scored 34 points to keep Charlotte within single digits most of the way, but the Hornets withstood each Bobcats surge in holding the lead for all of the final three quarters.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis' former Kentucky teammate and the second overall draft pick, had 12 points and six rebounds for Charlotte. Ramon Sessions scored 13 and Kemba Walker finished with 11.
One game after setting a franchise-low with 62 points in an ugly loss to Philadelphia, the Hornets shot nearly 52 percent (43 for 83) against Charlotte. New Orleans also turned the ball over only nine times after committing 24 turnovers against the Hornets.
Davis came alive after getting tangled up with Charlotte big man Byron Mullens late in the second quarter, an altercation that sent teammates running to separate them and sent official Bill Kennedy somersaulting backward into the front row, where he landed in the lap of Dennis Lauscha, president of the Hornets and NFL's Saints. (Both clubs are owned by Tom Benson, who was sitting next to Lauscha and narrowly avoided Kennedy.)
Davis scored 18 following the feud on an array of driving layups, putbacks and even a smooth baseline jumper from about 10 feet.
Davis' best play might have been an off-balance fast-break layup he tossed in off the glass as he was being fouled before crashing to the floor under the basket. He then hit the free throw for a three-point play to give New Orleans a 70-58 lead late in the third quarter.
Soon after, Anderson and rookie Darius Miller hit consecutive 3s to give New Orleans its largest lead at 76-62.
Charlotte managed to trim its deficit to five when Mullens' 3 over Davis made it 95-90 with four minutes remaining, but Aminu put back Davis' miss and Roberts added a tough layup to help New Orleans hold on.
New Orleans seized the early edge with an 8-0 run, highlighted by Jason Smith's dunk after he'd hustled for two offensive rebounds. That spurt made it 30-21, and New Orleans kept the lead throughout the rest of the second quarter, though Gordon's 19 first-half points on 8-of-12 shooting kept the margin in single digits until shortly after Davis' altercation with Mullens.
Davis then scored six straight points and Roger Mason Jr. added three free throws widen New Orleans' lead to 59-47 before Walker's layup cut it to 59-49 at halftime.
NOTES: Charlotte was without starting C Brendan Haywood, who has been away from the club for a family matter, and Gerald Henderson, who has a sprained left foot. ... Bobcats C Bismack Biyombo had 13 rebounds. ... Hornets coach Monty Williams said before tip-off it was "unfortunate" the Los Angeles Lakers did not give coach Mike Brown more than five games before firing him earlier Friday. "Dwight (Howard) didn't start practicing until late, Kobe (Bryant) hasn't practiced in a long time and (Steve) Nash is out, and it takes time to put all that stuff together," Williams said. "It's unfortunate because Mike's a really good coach and any time a guy loses a job, whether it be a player or a coach ... you're reminded of how fragile the business is."