A slight curse just might’ve been lifted for New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday night. The former Sacramento Kings superstar delivered his most resounding game in a Pelicans uniform, as it was against a considerable matchup of Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Cousins went off for 41 points on 14-27 shooting, while pulling down 17 rebounds, and even drained five three-pointers, as New Orleans went on to defeat Memphis, 95-82.
In his first eleven games with the Pelicans, it’s been perhaps an awkward adjustment for Cousins. After putting up a scoring average of 27.8 points in 55 games with the Kings, his scoring has slumped to just 20.2 with New Orleans.
Rather than being the focal point of the offense like he was in Sacramento, DeMarcus has also had to figure out how exactly he could play comfortably, alongside one of the league’s premier power forwards in Anthony Davis. For a trade which happened well before the deadline, Cousins heading to New Orleans was easily the most notable, due to the pairing of the two All-Star big men.
Cousins added two steals and three blocks, and was 8-for-9 from the foul-line. His offensive skill set was on full display, as he was hitting tough contested running hooks, drilling threes while trailing on the break, and even tossed a lob for Davis to slam it home in the third quarter. Davis finished the night with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
And as promising as it sounds, Cousins was also very active on the defensive end. He great hands for the ball, including two deflections early in the first quarter.
Let alone it being his best game as a Pelican, it was one of his most meaningful performances of the season. The Pelicans even picked up the win over a second-tier team in the NBA.
After spending eight seasons with the Kings, this is of course a new start for both Cousins and the organization. It was a no-brainer that both sides weren’t on the same page, and for what it’s worth, I believe both are happy with where they’re headed in their respective directions.
As for the Pelicans, they have no room for error as they push forward to creating a potential playoff contender, while both Davis (24) and Cousins (26) are still very young. I expect New Orleans to be a top Free Agent destination preferably for perimeter players, as it’s a known weakness for a team currently holding a record of 30-41.
If Cousins is more flexible than he’s ever been in his career, while also remaining happy with this team, the process of building for the next few years will be facile for the Pelicans.