Anthony Davis and the Pelicans beat the Rockets


Even though he's mostly come off the bench in his two seasons with the Rockets, Mike D'Antoni has referred to Eric Gordon as the Rockets sixth starter. Davis has repeatedly dazzled in season openers. The veteran National Basketball Association star is coming off the bench for the first time in his career, as the reigning Western Conference runner-ups host the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Rockets won the season series 3-1 past year.

Harden led the league by averaging a career-best 30.4 points last season to become Houston's first MVP since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994.

"All the questions of coming off the bench, I don't want to answer those questions at the end of the day", Anthony said at Houston's media day.

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Elfrid Payton's minimalist triple-double made him the first player to record exactly 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a single game since March 2, 2013 when Kyle Lowry did it for Toronto. Watching intently from the sideline was Anthony Davis. Last Western Conference finals saw them miss an National Basketball Association record 27 straight three-point attempts in their heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Warriors. Both the Pelicans and Rockets were in the middle of the pack in threes allowed, at 31.2 and 31.5 percent, respectively.

"We are all here to do what's best for the team", the smooth-shooting forward/center said. New Orleans also outscored Houston 76-44 in the paint and led by as much as 29 points in the second half. In an offense that's heavy on isolation, it was hard to imagine a player like Anthony who needs the ball in his hands coexisting in a lineup with Houston's established playmakers. Now as Harden gets ready for the last season of his 20s and his tenth in the National Basketball Association is there another part of his game he can improve?

In other games, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Charlotte Hornets' 113-112.

Not only that, but behind Davis' superb play, New Orleans swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round before falling in five games to the eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors. Pelicans' opponents averaged 14.5 turnovers per game compared to 14.5 for the Rockets. "I can only see what's in front of me right's about right now and what I need to do to be the best player for the Raptors".