Postgame recap: Pelicans 114, Kings 106
Pelicans (2-3), Kings (1-4)
SACRAMENTO – It looked bleak early, including when New Orleans fell behind by 19 points in the opening half, but by the end of Thursday’s game, DeMarcus Cousins and the Pelicans got exactly what they wanted. In a comeback road victory, Cousins delivered an enormous performance against his previous NBA team, finishing with 41 points, 23 rebounds and six assists. New Orleans' rally from a 19-point hole was tied for the third largest in franchise history.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Cousins followed up his own miss by dropping in a layup, giving New Orleans a 114-106 lead with 30-ish seconds remaining in regulation.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cousins, a three-time All-Star in Sacramento, was the center of attention before, during and after the nationally-televised game on TNT. He received a rousing ovation when his name was announced in pregame warmups, then a second huge cheer when the Kings played a video tribute to his Sacramento career at the end of the first quarter. Following his historical 41-23-6 stat line that featured over 50 percent shooting, over two dozen media members packed in tightly around his locker to hear his comments. Special mention also goes to Jrue Holiday, who broke through in the second half for his top stretch of play this season. Holiday finished with 20 points and seven assists. Playing without Anthony Davis (left knee quad tendonitis), Cousins and Holiday both were asked to do a lot, logging 44 and 41 minutes, respectively.
QUOTES TO NOTE
“I loved it. I’ve got nothing but love for this city. I came here a kid, left as a man. These fans have been great to me throughout the years. The love will always stay the same.” – Cousins on the warm reception he received
“It was a special night. The fans were beautiful. They were into the game. They let it be well-known that they hated every shot I made. Now I know how other players feel (when they visit Sacramento). I used to be on the other side of the fence. I can remember games where the crowd was the reason we won. It’s well-known that the Kings have incredible fans. They showed up tonight as well.
“We don’t want to be a team that makes excuses. We’re missing three starters, but every night we’re coming out battling, putting ourselves in a position to win games. That’s all we can do.” – Cousins on winning despite being without Davis (as well as first-stringers Rajon Rondo and Solomon Hill)
“He’s been incredible for us, doing everything on the fly… just that veteran experience, just knows how to play the game. He’s been huge for us.” – Cousins on the impact of Jameer Nelson (18 points, 6 assists off the bench)
BY THE NUMBERS
13/37: Sacramento shooting from the field in the second half. New Orleans tightened the screws significantly on the defensive end after intermission, forcing the Kings into too many perimeter shots (the hosts were 1/8 on treys).
5: Pelicans players who sank multiple three-pointers. Nelson led the quintet with four makes from long distance, while Cousins connected thrice. Holiday, E’Twaun Moore and Dante Cunningham were successful two times each.
2-1: New Orleans record on a three-game road trip. The Pelicans have only played one home game so far, a high-scoring loss to the Warriors.