The dynamic duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins is proving to be too big a handful for most opponents. Davis and Cousins will try to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a fourth straight win when they visit the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.
Davis and Cousins combined for 69 points and 27 rebounds in a 117-112 win at the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday and drove the Pelicans within one win of sweeping a four-game road trip. “We’re not a team that quits,” Cousins told reporters after New Orleans overcame a 14-point halftime deficit at Indiana. “And I love this about this team, no matter how much adversity hits, we keep fighting. I think that will take us a long way.” The Raptors have a pair of All-Stars in the backcourt but are struggling with consistency on both ends while trying to open up the offense. Toronto knocked off the lowly Chicago Bulls 119-114 at home on Tuesday but squandered a 20-point halftime lead and allowed them to shoot 50 percent from the floor
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS New Orleans, Sportsnet ONE (Toronto)
ABOUT THE PELICANS (6-5): New Orleans has a chance to outrebound every team it faces thanks to the presence of Cousins (13.6 rebounds) and Davis (12.8), and both came up with key boards down the stretch on Tuesday. “That’s exactly what they were — hustle plays,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “The last one (Cousins’ tip-in basket) that went in was big, because it makes it a two-possession game and changes everything.” Cousins is averaging 25.7 points and 15.3 rebounds on the road trip while Davis is putting up 31.3 points and 14.3 boards in the three games.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (6-4): Toronto is allowing opponents to shoot 45.9 percent from the floor on the season — 20th in the NBA heading into play on Wednesday — after ranking sixth in the league in defensive field-goal percentage last season (44.9). “Little things (like) weak-side help,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters while assessing the defensive issues after Tuesday’s game. “They scored, what, 16 points in the first six minutes of the (third) quarter? That’s totally unacceptable defensively. We get so caught up in what we’re doing offensively we forget about what we’re doing at the other end.” DeMar DeRozan bailed out the defense with 24 points in the win and is averaging 29 over the last three contests.
1. Pelicans PG Jrue Holiday is 0-of-16 from 3-point range in the last five games.
2. Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas recorded his first double-double since the season opener with 21 points and 10 rebounds on Tuesday.
3. Toronto swept the two-game season series in each of the last two campaigns.
PREDICTION: Raptors 109, Pelicans 105