DeMarcus Cousins Scores 27 in His First Game as a Pelican, but Rockets Win 129-99.
The Sacramento Kings traded power forward DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans during the All-Star break– really, during the All Star Game itself– after being told he would not be traded. Cousins is one of the premier players in the NBA, and his pairing up with Pelican’s superstar forward Anthony Davis was eagerly anticipated by NBA fans in general and New Orleans’ fans in particular. The Pelicans were just a couple of games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, and the addition of Cousins made greatly increased New Orleans chances of making the post season. The team faced a good test in its first game after the All Star break, hosting the 40-18 Houston Rockets on February 23rd.
Well it didn’t go all that well. Cousins put up some great numbers, scoring 27 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, blocking four shots, and making five steals to go along with five assists—in other words, more than doing his part—but the Rockets rolled over the Pelicans 12-99. Davis did his part as well, leading all scorers with 29 points and grabbing nine rebounds. It dropped off after that. Omri Casspi, who was also acquired in the same trade, was next with 12 points, but broke his thumb and will be out at least four weeks.
New Orleans (23-35) will be at the 22-34 Dallas Mavericks on February 25th. The Cousins—Davis frontcourt is formidable, but others will have to step up as well, and it will take some time for the revamped lineup to gel (New Orleans sent three players to Sacramento, as well as two draft choices). The Pelicans are moving in the right direction, though they are still a long way from elite (i.e. Golden State, San Antonio, or Houston) status in the NBA West.