NEW ORLEANS (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins came to the bench for the final time as the crowd rose to its feet. He exchanged high fives with Pelicans teammates and fans on the baseline, then motioned to the crowd with his raised right hand to keep the adulation coming.
Cousins had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, and the Pelicans pulled away for a convincing 123-101 victory over Cleveland on Saturday night.
“I enjoy winning. Don’t you?” Cousins said when asked about his interplay with the jubilant crowd. “If we play like this on a nightly basis, we’ve got a very good chance of being the team that we want to be.”
Davis added 30 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks to help New Orleans win for the third time in four games. New Orleans’ All-Star frontcourt tandem had help from the backcourt, too, with Holiday scoring 29 points and E'Twaun Moore 24 as the Pelicans shot better than 53 percent.
“We’re locked in as a unit. We feel like we can battle with the best of them. We’re starting to understand what it takes to win games,” said Cousins, who’s played in only 22 games with Davis since the trade that brought Cousins from Sacramento after last season’s All-Star Game.
“We’re still learning how to play with one another, but the ball movement’s been good lately. Defensively, we’ve been good.”
Cousins mostly scored on powerful inside moves, once dribbling through three converging defenders. He also tossed in the sporadic 3. Davis provided his usual mix of decisive spot-up jumpers and crowd-pleasing dunks, either on the break or crashing the boards for put-backs. Holiday complemented penetrating dribble drives with four 3s.