Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard Euro-stepped through the lane Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena, swerving around his defender en route to what appeared to be an easy basket.

Out of nowhere, New Orleans' Anthony Davis emerged to remind everyone why he was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. The 19-year-old rookie big man caught Leonard from behind and pinned ball against the backboard for a block.

"The kid's going to be good," Stephen Jackson said later. "He's going to be real good."

By the end of the night, after the Spurs had survived Davis' coming-out party to claim a 99-95 victory, the consensus was clear in the visiting locker room.

New Orleans can keep the player billed as "the next Tim Duncan" for the time being. The Spurs are content to ride the original.

Duncan, the Spurs' 36-year-old power forward, finished his 16th season opener with 24 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, carrying his team to the finish line with big baskets in the final two minutes.

Tony Parker, who added 23 points and six assists, provided the go-ahead bucket on a 3-pointer with 49.6 seconds to go. But it was Duncan, working the paint as he has since Davis was in diapers, who provided the difference.

"If Timmy doesn't do what he does down the stretch," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "it's a loss for us."

The victory was significant for the Spurs, and not just because they improved to 15-1 in openers under Popovich. From New Orleans, the Spurs return home to face Oklahoma City — the team that ejected them from the Western Conference finals in June — tonight at the AT&T Center.

Nearly seven months after leading Kentucky to the NCAA championship in his lone college season, Davis showed early why he begins the season the favorite to be the NBA's Rookie of the Year.

He debuted with 21 points, seven rebounds and one demonstrative blocked shot, and displayed a versatile offensive game that included jumpers, pick-and-roll finishes and a 9-of-9 showing from the foul line.