Pelicans’ combo of Davis, Cousins KOs Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS — When New Orleans big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins each have it going on the same night, they make the Pelicans a difficult team to beat.
That was the case Tuesday night when Davis scored 37 points, Cousins added 32 and New Orleans extended its winning streak to three — all on the road — with a 117-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Davis and Cousins each had a key basket in the final 1:10. Davis grabbed 14 rebounds and Cousins pulled down 13. The two combined to make 26 of 43 shots from the field, including 8 of 15 from 3-point range, and 9 of 13 free throws.
“We have been like this almost all season, but we have to do a better job of playing both halves, both ends of the floor, and that goes for everybody,” Davis said. “They scored 75 points in the first half, and we are not that type of team. In the second half, we were able to contain those guys and get some stops.”
New Orleans (6-5) has won consecutive road games at Dallas, Chicago and Indiana. The Pacers (5-6) have lost three in a row.
“In the second half, we did a better job on defense and slowed down their transition,” Cousins said. “They scored a lot more in the first half by capitalizing on our turnovers. We didn’t have silly turnovers in the second half.”
Indiana got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Myles Turner, 15 points from Victor Oladipo, and 14 apiece from Lance Stephenson and Bojdan Bogdanovic.
“We started slowly in the second half, and they started making easy shots,” Oladipo said. “We have to find a better way of closing games out. And I have to start playing better in the second half.”
Indiana had beaten New Orleans seven consecutive times, including winning in Indianapolis for the first time since Jan. 16, 2010.
The Pelicans erased all of the 14-point halftime deficit with strong play from Davis and Cousins to lead 96-94 heading into the fourth quarter.
Cousins had a 14-point, five-rebound third quarter, and Davis had 13 points and four rebounds.
“I thought we played well offensively, but Indiana did not throw us a bone,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “I thought we started the second half really locked in. We had good ball movement, and obviously we feel like we have an advantage every night on the inside with Anthony and DeMarcus.”
Davis had 30 points through 36 minutes, and Cousins had 26.
“Teams are lighting us up right now,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. “Then we rushed some shots in the second half. We also knew that Davis and Cousins would tighten their defense in the second half. Just like our loss Sunday in New York, we came out flat in the second half.”
The Pelicans outscored the Pacers 56-37 during the final 30 minutes.
New Orleans outscored Indiana 16-5 to begin the third quarter, hitting 8 of 9 from the field to slice the Pacers’ lead to 80-77. Cousins’ 3-pointer with 4:32 remaining cut the deficit to 88-86. Moments later, Cousins’ free throw gave New Orleans an 89-88 lead.
The Pacers shot a blistering 72.7 percent in the second quarter (16 of 22) and took a 75-61 halftime lead — their highest first-half point production of the season. With an eight-point second quarter, Turner finished the half with 14 points and four rebounds.
Stephenson had a 12-point, five-rebound half and Young had 11 points and four rebounds.
Davis had 17 points in the first 30 minutes and Cousins had 12 for New Orleans. The Pelicans shot 53.5 percent in the half (23 of 43) yet trailed by 14.
Indiana made 14 of 25 first-quarter shots (56 percent) and took a 37-34 lead, getting eight points and two assists from Oladipo. The Pelicans, who shot 57.1 percent in the first 12 minutes, got 14 points and five rebounds from Davis in the opening quarter.
NOTES: Indiana played without F Domantas Sabonis (right calf contusion) and G/F Glenn Robinson III (left high ankle sprain). ... New Orleans was without C Alexis Ajinca (right knee), C Omar Asik (illness), F Solomon Hill (left hamstring tear), G Frank Jackson (right foot fracture) and G Rajon Rondo (left core muscle injury). ... New Orleans entered the game with C Demarcus Cousins ranked fifth in NBA scoring (28.6) and fourth in rebounding (13.6). F Anthony Davis was ranked sixth in scoring (27.4) and fifth in rebounding (12.7). ... The Pacers have beaten the Pelicans in 12 of the 15 most recent meetings. ... Pelicans assistant Jamelle McMillan is the son of Pacers coach Nate McMillan.