NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ryan Anderson scored 22 points, Tyreke Evans added 21 and the New Orleans Pelicans routed the Houston Rockets 111-83 on Friday night.
Dante Cunningham added 13 points for New Orleans, which opened a double-digit lead in the second quarter and led by as much as 32 in the second half.
Omer Asik grabbed 11 rebounds, and Anthony Davis accounted for three of the Pelicans’ eight blocked shots.
Dwight Howard scored 12 points and James Harden had 11 for Houston, all in the first half. With his starters struggling early in the third quarter, coach Kevin McHale opted to play reserves during most of the second half, a move apparently designed to send a message while resting prominent players in advance of Houston’s Saturday night home game against Miami.
Corey Brewer scored 12 points for the Rockets, and Donatas Motiejunas had 10.
Jimmer Fredette scored 10 points and sent a charge through the crowd with a fast-break lob to Austin Rivers for an alley-oop dunk that even brought Davis out of his seat on the bench.
New Orleans shot 53 percent (44 of 83), including 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from 3-point range. Houston missed its first five shots and wound up shooting 39.8 percent (35 of 88), including 20.7 percent (6 of 29) from long range.
It was Houston’s first game this season in which it never led.
Anderson’s first 3 — also his fifth field goal on six shots — put the Pelicans up 38-22 early in the second quarter.
Anderson and Evans combined to hit 14 of 19 shots and score 32 points in the first half, helping the Pelicans to a 59-42 lead.
It only got worse for Houston when the third quarter began. Josh Smith missed a 3, Trevor Ariza turned the ball over and then Patrick Beverly was called for a foul on Luke Babbitt, whose free throws put the Pelicans up by 23 just 1:23 into the period. McHale demonstrated his disgust by subbing out his entire starting lineup.
Rockets: Officials had to call timeout in the first quarter when Motiejunas showed them a deep red scratch across the underside of his forearm. The Lithuanian 7-footer complained of the injury, which trainers covered with a bandage, shortly after being called for a foul while tangled up with Davis in the paint. … During the eight minutes Howard played in the first quarter, he attempted only one shot, an alley-oop dunk of Motiejunas’ lob.
Pelicans: New Orleans improved to 11-4 at home. … The Pelicans are 11-1 when blocking seven or more shots. … One of Anderson’s three 3-pointers never went through the hoop, but was ruled good when Howard was called for goaltending.
Rockets: Host Miami on Saturday.
Pelicans: Host Washington on Monday.
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