Alvin Gentry: DeMarcus Cousins playing great basketball since joining Pelicans

LOS ANGELES – It’s been frustrating from a team standpoint for New Orleans to not crack the win column yet with DeMarcus Cousins in uniform since a blockbuster trade with Sacramento, but as Pelicans second-year head coach Alvin Gentry pointed out Sunday, Cousins isn’t to blame for the 0-4 record. The seventh-year pro compiled 19 points and a franchise record-tying 23 rebounds vs. San Antonio on Friday, for example, but it ended in an overtime defeat to the Spurs.

“I do think he’s playing great basketball,” Gentry said of Cousins, who’s averaging 22.3 points and 15.5 rebounds with the Pelicans. “He’s playing great basketball. When you can get 23 rebounds and (almost) 20 points in a game, it’s not about you (in terms of why losses have happened). Unfortunately for us, we’ve had situations where we’ve been right there, but just can’t get over the hump. When you’re incorporating a guy of his stature into your team, it does become difficult. It’s not something that happens overnight.”

The same goes for Anthony Davis. The four-time All-Star is averaging a gaudy 33.6 points in his five games since the trade (Cousins missed Wednesday's win vs. Detroit), along with 10.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He’s also made 58 trips to the foul line in five games, one sign of his high level of aggressiveness.

“You look at the numbers, they’ve had impressive numbers and have played great,” Gentry said of Cousins and Davis. “As coaches, we continue to work on where do we get (Cousins) the ball and blend him into what we’re doing.”

Other notes from pregame at Staples Center:

The Pelicans gave Hollis Thompson a second 10-day contract, probably no surprise considering he’s started the last three games. Gentry on Thompson’s play so far: “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the defense, because I think that’s the thing people had a little question about. But he’s given great effort and pretty much followed the gameplan. I think he deserves another 10 days, to take a good, solid look at him.” ...

Gentry on Omer Asik (illness): "He took a trip to Mexico over (the All-Star) break, and that may be part of it. He's lost a lot of weight. I think he's starting to feel better, but it's just a weird situation that happens. Now we're just trying to get him healthy."