Pelicans lose to Rockets in DeMarcus Cousins’ debut
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.
The Pelicans’ tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut after a trade from the Lakers, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.
Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds after he was acquired from Sacramento during the break. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn’t keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.
Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players’ first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists.
Houston led by as many as 35 points when Gordon’s free throws made it 100-65 late in the third quarter.
Patrick Beverley had 12 rebounds for Houston. Montrezl Harrell added 10 points for the Rockets, who shot 49.5 percent (45 of 91).
After New Orleans acquired Cousins, nicknamed “Boogie,” in a deal involving five players and two draft choices, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps hoped Cousins and Davis would thrive playing off one another while point guard Jrue Holiday initiated offensive sets. But Holiday had arguably his worst game this season, turning the ball over seven times and finishing with only six points and four assists.
The crowd was charged up for both Cousins’ debut and Davis’ resumption of a sensational season following his record 52-point performance on Sunday.
Both players received rousing receptions during introductions and the crowd roared when Cousins hit a jumper for games’ first points.
Cousins and Davis each scored eight in the first quarter, but it was also apparent that the integration of new personnel had New Orleans a bit out of sync. The Pelicans turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, leading to 17 Rockets points.
The Rockets also hit nine 3s in the opening half, including three each by Gordon and Williams, and led 66-50 at halftime.
By the end of the third quarter, the crowd that had been so rowdy at tip-off was starting to file out with their team down 100-67.
Rockets: Houston has won seven of the past eight meetings. … The Rockets hit at least 10 3s in a game for the 55th time in 59 games this season. … The Rockets, now 41-18, have matched their win total for all of last season.
Pelicans: Before the game, New Orleans waived F Terrence Jones and signed G/F Hollis Thompson to a 10-day contract. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Jones, who joined New Orleans on a one-year contract this season, was released to help him find a team where he could play more. Thompson played a little more than four minutes and scored three points. … The Pelicans are now 14-16 at home.
Rockets: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.
Pelicans: Visit Dallas on Saturday night.