Through the smoke and mirrors that was the Anthony Davis trade rumours over the past few weeks, the big man returned to action on Friday in a New Orleans Pelicans uniform.
The superstar forward's night started with a mixture of boos and cheers during his introduction, as well as his first few possessions.
As the game progressed, the boo-birds had no choice but to fade out because Davis balled out. He scored 32 points on an efficient 11-for-15 shooting from the field with nine rebounds, two assists and three blocks.
This became an extremely close game down the stretch, but Davis watched the finish from the sidelines as the team presumably prepares for life without him in the future.
AD sat the entire fourth quarter, but the Pelicans pulled away with a 122-117 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves behind a clutch series of plays from Julius Randle.
In a two-point game with 42 seconds remaining, Randle had an impressive crossover for a layup to give the Pelicans a 114-110 lead.
Julius right on 🎯#PelicansGameday | #doitBIG pic.twitter.com/CTHt9AnXiz- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 9, 2019
Karl-Anthony Towns responded with a bucket but New Orleans did not hesitate to go right back to Randle. With Towns draped all over him, Randle powered through the contact with a strong finish at the rim to give the Pelicans a 116-112 lead with 23 seconds to go.
On the next possession, roles were reversed with Towns on offence in the post and Randle came up with the stop and the defensive rebound that would eventually put the game away.
Randle only scored 12 points and had eight rebounds in the game but his impact down the stretch won the game.
Jrue Holiday's 27 points, nine assists, four rebounds and three steals played a key role in the game, as well as undrafted rookie Kenrich Williams who scored 19 points on four 3-pointers in the second half.
Towns led the T'Wolves with 32 points and eight boards and Andrew Wiggins was terrific with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Both the Pelicans and Timberwolves are still out of the Western Conference playoff picture by 4.5 and 5.0 games, resepectively.