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Anthony Davis makes history with 41 points in return to New Orleans

Jack Baer
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Anthony Davis had a messy exit from New Orleans. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that Anthony Davis is no longer a popular man in New Orleans.

We got our first decent clue of that back in February when New Orleans Pelicans booed the star while he was still on the team after his very public trade demand, but his return to the city on Wednesday left no doubt.

New Orleans fans boo Lakers’ Anthony Davis

The boos rained, heavily and consistently Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers star returned to New Orleans to face his former team. They started as soon as he hit the court and reached a peak as he was introduced in the Smoothie King Center for the first time as an opponent.

Perhaps wisely, the Pelicans reportedly held off from airing any sort of tribute video for Davis.

AD gets the last laugh vs. Pelicans

The boos continued into the game, with the the crowd jeering Davis whenever he touched the ball and cheered his misses and turnovers. The Lakers responded by feeding Davis the ball in the first quarter, with him posting 11 of the team’s 22 field goal attempts for 14 points.

Davis eventually got the last laugh, posting a season-high 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting and killing the Pelicans’ shot at a last-second game-winner by stealing an in-bounds pass in the final seconds of a 114-110 Lakers win.

That point total also meant a bit of history for The Brow, becoming the first player in NBA history to score more than 40 points in his first game against a former team, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Davis also appeared to escape injury after sitting for part of the fourth quarter with an apparent right arm injury. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis was fine after the game.

Pelicans fans’ reaction was expected

None of the reactions in the Smoothie King Center were a surprise for Davis, who told ESPN he expected almost exactly that treatment:

"I'm pretty sure every time I catch the ball, it's probably going to be boos and stuff like that," Davis said. "Obviously they're fans of the Pelicans. And I understand why they feel that way, but it's all love on my end."

That’s logical enough from Davis, who made few friends in New Orleans after publicly requesting a trade and essentially sabotaging trade talks with the Boston Celtics, the Lakers’ biggest competitor for his talents. Had the Pelicans not lucked out and won the draft lottery to get Zion Williamson, a situation that included their general manager getting fired, things could have been a lot worse for the team.

Davis ended up getting his wish, and now he’s on the Lakers and a major part of their NBA-best 16-2 record. He never got the kind of support in New Orleans that he now has in Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean the majority of Pelicans fans will forgive him anytime soon.

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