DeMarcus Cousins carries New Orleans Pelicans past Memphis Grizzlies

By Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange  |  March 22, 2017 at 12:37 AM
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NEW ORLEANS -- DeMarcus Cousins had his post-All-Star-trade coming-out party, scoring a game-high 41 points, including nine in a decisive 21-0 third-quarter run, to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 95-82 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night at the Smoothie King Center.

It was the most points Cousins has scored since coming to New Orleans in a trade with Sacramento. He scored 16 points in the first half, added 14 in the third quarter and then dominated Memphis center Marc Gasol in the fourth, beating him on a spinning baseline drive, a crossover dribble for another layup and a power move down the lane.

Cousins, who added a game-high 17 rebounds, finished with 11 points in the fourth as New Orleans (30-41) won for the fifth time in six game.

Memphis (40-30) was led by point guard Mike Conley with 16 points, but the Grizzlies saw their four-game winning streak end.

New Orleans also got 19 points and 13 rebounds from Anthony Davis.

The key third-quarter run came straight out of Cousins' arsenal. Cousins scored nine points during the 5:49 span, and Davis added six. Cousins did it in a variety of ways, hitting three 3-pointers and adding another three-point play with drive to the basket and a foul shot.

Davis contributed nine points in the 32-13 quarter, and the Pelicans led 66-54 entering the final period. The Grizzlies shot just 5 of 16 in the quarter.

The Pelicans came into the game averaging 117.6 points in their previous five games, but they shot just 28.6 percent in the first half and trailed 41-34 at the break. Jrue Holiday went 2 of 10 and Davis 2 of 8 in the first half. Davis, in particular, looked sluggish, missing three layups in the first quarter.

The Grizzlies shot just 41.9 percent in the first half, but it was enough to make the Pelicans' shooting look even worse. Andrew Harrison led Memphis with eight first-half points, and Conley had seven.

NOTES: Pelicans PF Anthony Davis got the start despite "a little sickness," coach Alvin Gentry said. ... Asked about NBA commissioner Adam Silver's concern about the growing incidences of teams resting star players, Gentry said "We haven't rested anyone. We'll have plenty of rest if we don't play well this next week. To me, it's the individual coaches. It's whatever you think is best for your team." ... The Grizzlies rested G/F Tony Allen due to light knee soreness, coach David Fizdale said. ... Asked about the rest controversy, Fizdale said: "I grew up on the back end of the old school, so if you're healthy, you played. I also understand what some of these teams are looking at. They're paying these guys a lot of money. ... Teams are going to err on the side of protecting that investment."

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