NEW YORK - The Nets piled on the points in the first half like never before in Brooklyn, and it turned out they needed almost all of them.
Anthony Davis was that tough to stop in a monstrous return to the lineup.
D’Angelo Russell had 22 points and 13 assists, and the Nets built up a big enough lead with a 73-point first half to hold off Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, 126-121 on Wednesday night.
Davis finished with 34 points and a career-high 26 rebounds after a one-game absence, but there weren’t enough rebounds to get in the first half, when the Nets opened a 24-point lead during their highest-scoring first half at home in 17 years.
“Man, when you got a guy like Anthony Davis down there, it’s tough for us on the defensive end, it’s tough for us on the offensive end,” Russell said. “You’ve just got to keep playing next play at a time mentality and just being aggressive on all cylinders.”
Joe Harris added 21 points for the Nets, who had 105 points through three quarters, then got consecutive baskets by Harris when New Orleans trimmed the lead down to seven with under 5 minutes remaining.
The Nets made nine of their first 15 3-point attempts during their highest-scoring first half at home since getting 75 against Golden State on Feb. 19, 2002, back in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Davis said the Pelicans’ first-half defense was lazy.
Elfrid Payton scored 25 points for New Orleans in his second game back after missing more than a month with a broken finger. Julius Randle had 21 and Jrue Holiday 20, but the Pelicans got next to nothing from their bench.
76ers 132, Suns 127
In Phoenix, Joel Embiid, playing despite a sore left knee, matched his season high with 42 points, 30 in the first half, and grabbed 18 rebounds and Philadelphia held off the Suns.
Ben Simmons added 29 points and J.J. Redick 27 for the 76ers, who were without Jimmy Butler and Wilson Chandler, both due to an upper respiratory infection. Devin Booker scored 37 points for the Suns. Deandre Ayton added 18 points and 11 boards and Josh Jackson scored 16 points.
Celtics 115, Timberwolves 102
In Boston, Gordon Hayward came off the bench to score a season-high 35 points in the Celtics’ victory over Minnesota.
In Other Games
Mavericks 122, Hornets 84
Heat 117, Cavaliers 92
Pistons 101, Grizzlies 94
Wizards 114, Hawks 98
Magic 112, Bulls 84
Thunder 107, Lakers 100