NEW ORLEANS Don't get Anthony Davis mad.
That would be the enduring lesson from the Charlotte Bobcats' 107-99 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.
Davis, the No. 1 pick in June, and Bobcats forward Byron Mullens got into a dust-up in the second quarter. It started with an elbow, escalated into mutual shoves and ended with Mullens getting a flagrant foul and Davis a technical foul.
The very next play Davis posted up Mullens for a jump hook. He never let up the rest of the way, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
''A tough game,'' Davis said of the fracas with Mullens. "But there's no beef after this. It's not like if I see him on the street, I'm going to hit him.''
Mullens wasn't nearly so productive, finishing with five points and three rebounds, and shooting 2-of-9. He declined all comment about Davis after the game.
Davis said it was important to attack the basket because the shoving match had to raise the referees' awareness of contact.
"Try to be aggressive every possession,'' Davis said, "because any type of touching was going to be a foul.''
By game's end, the Hornets shot 52 percent from the field. This game wouldn't have been close had the Bobcats not gotten 34 points from sixth man Ben Gordon. Gordon is known for scoring in bunches. His 14-of-21 night certainly illustrated as much.
Coach Mike Dunlap said he's learning how best to use Gordon and right now that involves setting a series of double screens to free him up. But it becomes a cat-and-mouse game, and the Hornets learned in the fourth quarter to shake up what they were doing on defense.
"They adjusted. At the end they were jumping out a little more'' over screens, Gordon said. "We just have to be creative and mix it up'' offensively.
Offense wasn't the problem, Gordon concluded:
"Our problem all year is giving up 111 (points). We've got to fine-tune that area.''
Specific to Friday, the Bobcats couldn't figure how to contain Davis in the post while still dealing with Ryan Anderson's jump-shooting. Anderson is what NBA scouts call a "stretch 4'' - a power forward with 3-point accuracy. Anderson (25 points and seven rebounds) did to the Bobcats what Mullens sometimes does to the other team.
"Ryan is a great shooter,'' Davis said. "So Jason (Smith) and I end up wide open down the gut'' of the lane to the rim.