The New Orleans Pelicans continued their recent tear through the post-All-Star break, extending their current win streak to nine games with a convincing win over the surging Los Angeles Clippers. All-Star and MVP candidate Anthony Davis lead the team with 41 points and 13 rebounds. Jrue Holiday made a significant impact, posting 19 points and a game-high 17 assists. The Clippers were led by Tobias Harris and Lou Williams, who both scored 27 points.

Two scares

Late in the second quarter, Anthony Davis labored down the floor after a hard collision with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

During a stoppage, he was taken back to the locker room for further evaluation. For a moment, it appeared as though the surprise run the Pelicans were on was coming to an end. However, it was announced just before halftime ended that he was only suffering from a rib bruise and would be returning for the second half.

At the end of the third quarter, it appeared the Pelicans had the game in hand, holding a comfortable 15 point lead heading into the game's final frame. However, the Clippers had other plans in mind, surging immediately after the quarter started, tying the game with 5:23 to play.

As the lead shifted back and forth, Davis took the game into his hands and made several clutch shots in the game's final minutes. The game was finally secured when Lou Williams missed two free throws with six seconds to go and the Clippers down three.

No DeMarcus, no problem

The Pelicans' chances of making a significant run in the playoffs were considered dead by many following the season-ending ACL tear by star center DeMarcus Cousins late in their January 28th win against the Houston Rockets.

The Pelicans were only five games above .500 with several upstart teams vying for their playoff spot. The roster outside of Cousins and Davis, two all-stars, was considered mostly subpar by all accounts, certainly not resembling a top-tier playoff team.

While the non-All-Stars have upped their game in many respects (Jrue Holiday, for example, has increased his points-per-game by three and assists by one-and-a-half), it has been the unbelievable play by Davis that has propelled the club to their recent success.

Prior to tonight's game, Davis was averaging 37.3 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.8 blocks during the win streak. This recent tear is why he has entered the MVP conversation (although it is unlikely he can best Houston's James Harden).

Not only have the players already on the roster improved their play, but GM Dell Demps has supplemented some of Cousins's impact with two new additions in Nikola Mirotic and Emeka Okafor. Mirotic was traded from the Bulls (along with a second-round pick) for Omer Asik, Tony Allen, and Jameer Nelson. Since being traded, Mirotic has averaged almost 15 points and 8 rebounds per game.

Okafor, who was first signed on February 3rd after not playing in the NBA since 2013, has contributed 15 solid minutes at center per game, allowing Davis to play power forward, his preferred position.

Playoff picture

Currently, the Pelicans are in the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, two games in the win column behind the three-seeded Trail Blazers and one game in the loss column behind the fifth-seeded Spurs. In all, only three games separate the three seed in the West from the eighth seed.

The Pelicans have 19 games remaining on their schedule, with 12 against teams expected to make the playoffs. They play the Clippers once more, and the one-seeded Rockets twice. It is unclear if Davis can keep up his current statistical pace, but the Pelicans were given a ninety percent chance to make the playoffs in FiveThirtyEight's recent projection. A playoff series can be significant for Davis, who in his sixth season, has yet to record a playoff victory.