PHOENIX – The New Orleans Pelicans will bring their twin double-double machine to Phoenix on Friday.
The Suns have three centers on their roster, and they might need every one.
New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins has 14 double-doubles and power forward Anthony Davis has 13 this season, and both did it again in the Pelicans’ decisive 107-90 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-10 Davis had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and 6-11 Cousins had 24 points and 15 rebounds against the Spurs, the fifth game in which the Pelicans (10-8) have had point guard Rajon Rondo on the floor after he was sidelined by an early core injury.
“We’ll be scary,” Cousins said about the addition of Rondo to the mix. “Now we’ve got to find a whole new way of playing. Not saying we’re switching up our style, but just getting him accustomed to playing with us and us playing with him.”
With Cousins and Davis getting good looks on the inside, the Pelicans shot 50 percent from the field for a franchise-record seven straight games before dropping to 48.1 percent against San Antonio.
On the other side, the Pelicans limited the Spurs to 39.8 percent shooting as the Spurs occasionally search for offense during the continued absence of Kawhi Leonard.
“The defense is what’s going to make our offense go, and we did a great job,” Davis said Wednesday.
“When we do that, we are a tough team to beat. We really don’t like to run plays every time down. If we can get a stop and push it up the floor and get an easy basket in transition, then we’d much rather do that.”
Davis passed Chris Paul on Wednesday to become the Pelicans’ second all-time leading scorer with 7,938 points. Davis is 752 points away from New Orleans’ all-time leading scorer, David West, now with Golden State.
If Davis maintains his scoring pace — he is averaging 25.9 points a game — he would pass West before the All-Star break.
“I’m not trying to stop there,” Davis told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I want to bring championships here and do way more. For me, this is just one of many accomplishments I’m looking forward to getting.”
The Suns (7-12) have played well recently and had a two-game winning streak stopped in a 113-107 overtime home loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Suns outscored the Bucks by nine in the fourth quarter but only got two points in overtime. They had a season-high 29 turnovers
Guard Devin Booker had 23 points against the Bucks and center Greg Monroe came off the bench with 22 points and 15 rebounds in 32 minutes. He had eight offensive rebounds.
Monroe, nominal starter Tyson Chandler and four-year veteran Alex Len have given the Suns a three-headed presence at center since Monroe returned from a calf injury last week. Chandler had six points and 12 rebounds in 21 minutes against the Bucks and Len did not play.
“We knew they would have a hard time stopping him,” Suns interim coach Jay Triano said of Monroe.
Monroe is well aware of the challenge the Pelicans’ frontline presents.
“You know you’ve got the two big guys, two All-Star big men coming in so you’ve got to slow them down first,” Monroe said. “Pretty sure that’s what we’re going to be focusing on the hardest coming into the game Friday.”