for this game

Pelicans entertain Celtics in Big Easy

Mar 6, 2015 - 3:52 PM ( - The New Orleans Pelicans continue their pursuit for a playoff berth Friday night when they host the Boston Celtics at Smoothie King Center.

The Pelicans have won six of their last seven and sit a half-game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

New Orleans had a five-game winning streak halted on Monday, but rebounded with an 88-85 home win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, in their first of a three-game homestand, which ends Saturday versus the Memphis Grizzlies.

Anthony Davis made his return to the Pelicans lineup a memorable one.

Davis, who missed the previous five games with a sprained shoulder, posted a massive line of 39 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks to lead New Orleans past Detroit.

"I just couldn't wait to get on the floor. I was just out there having fun and it showed," Davis said.

Tyreke Evans added 21 points and nine assists and Alexis Ajinca, who benefited most from Davis' absence these last few weeks, posted a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double off the bench.

The score was tied with 1:24 to play and Davis restored New Orleans' lead with a jumper out of a timeout, then rebounded Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's miss at the other end.

Davis hit another jumper from the same spot with 17.9 seconds left to extend the lead to four. It was three in the closing seconds when Reggie Jackson's rainbow 3 was off the mark. Norris Cole secured the rebound, and the game, for New Orleans.

The Celtics halted a two-game slide just before leaving Boston on Wednesday, thanks to a buzzer-beater, 85-84 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Marcus Smart's inbounds pass over the top found Tyler Zeller under the basket, where the 7-footer pump-faked Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood and got a shot off the backboard before Rudy Gobert had a chance to block it.

"I saw Gordon flying in so I shot faked and just got the ball up," Zeller said.

Zeller's game-winner came after Hayward gave the Jazz a lead at the other end with 1.7 seconds remaining.

"That's what Coach Stevens does. He's excellent in those situations," Hayward said of his former coach drawing up plays late.

Isaiah Thomas scored 21 points to lead the Celtics, who committed just three turnovers in the game. Jae Crowder added 18 points, Avery Bradley scored 13 and Zeller had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Bradley won't be with the team on Friday as he's out with a left elbow strain.

The Celtics beat the Pelicans by eight in Boston on Jan. 12 to snap a five- game series losing streak. New Orleans has beaten the C's the last three encounters in the Big Easy.