DeMarcus Cousins

Achilles tear end DeMarcus Cousins' season


Achilles tear end DeMarcus Cousins' season

NEW ORLEANS - DeMarcus Cousins raced down the lane after his missed free throw, trying to make a hustle play and help the New Orleans Pelicans preserve a signature victory over one of the NBA's elite teams.

Moments later, Cousins was sitting on the court, pain in his foot and shock on his face. He tried to get up as his teammates pursued the Houston Rockets toward the other end of the court, then went back down on his back and placed both hands on his head.

Anthony Davis scored 27 points, Cousins had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists before seriously injuring his left Achilles tendon, and New Orleans survived a furious Houston rally for a 115-113 victory on Friday night.

A person familiar with the situation said an MRI confirmed an Achilles tear, ending Cousins' season a little more than a week after he was voted an All-Star starter.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Pelicans have not yet announced the imaging results.

The injury, which occurred with 12 seconds left in the game, all but squelched the jubilation from the Pelicans and their fans, who otherwise would have been celebrating not just a victory over the team with the NBA's second-best record, but a fourth straight victory overall and seventh in eight games.

"We were just figuring everything out. That's the tough part," Davis said. "We've got to keep going and just keep finding a way to win.

"We've got enough guys in here who are professionals who are always ready when their number's called, so we've got to make sure that we stay locked in."

Jrue Holiday scored 21 points and unconventionally sealed the victory by purposely missing a free throw with 1.8 seconds left, causing time to run out as players grappled for the rebound.

"Right now, just praying everything's OK," Holiday said, adding that Cousins' injury made the victory "bittersweet."

"Just unfortunate, really. I think we've been doing really well, got in a great groove," Holiday added, noting that Cousins' triple-double against Houston was his second in three games. "The way we've been playing, and him in particular, has been awesome."

Darius Miller hit six 3-pointers, including one with 1:52 left to give the Pelicans a five-point lead, and finished with 20 points.

Chris Paul scored a season-high 38 points before fouling out in the final seconds and nearly led Houston back from a 21-point, third-quarter deficit. James Harden had 23 points and 11 assists, and Eric Gordon scored 27 points.

"We waited too long to get back in it," Paul said. "We picked up our pace a little bit. We started getting a few stops, and then it was too little, too late."

Houston tied it at 104 on Luc Mbah a Moute's layup with 2:34 to go. And the game was tied once more at 109 on Trevor Ariza's 3 with 1:17 to go before Holiday's driving floater and Cousins' follow shot gave New Orleans the lead for good.

"It is one game of 82," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We deservedly lost, but we will come back."

Cousins, however, might not.

"I feel horrible for him - everything that he's done and what he's tried to do this year for us," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "The improvements in all areas that he's made, on and off the court, it's just been great. I don't want that to happen to a guy that's trying to better himself."

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Anthony Davis delivers another monster performance, leading Pelicans past Celtics

Anthony Davis delivers another monster performance, leading Pelicans past Celtics

BOSTON – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday’s 116-113 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, which snapped Boston’s seven-game winning streak:


Anthony Davis: At no point was there a time when you didn’t feel as though this was Anthony Davis’ world and everyone else was just along for the ride. After scoring 48 points at New York on Sunday, Davis had another monster game with 45 points against Boston on 16-for-34 shooting along with 16 rebounds.


DeMarcus Cousins: It was Cousins’ first win in Boston after six losses, and his play was huge. He finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans.

Jrue Holiday: It’s easy to forget that Holiday is a former All-star. He played like one on Tuesday, scoring 23 points to go with seven assists with huge baskets in the fourth and in overtime.

Kyrie Irving: After a brutal first half, Irving shook off the rust from the long layoff from London to finish with a team-high 27 points.

Jaylen Brown: He was one of the Celtics more consistent scorers, tallying 16 points on 7-for-14 shooting to go with five assists.

Rajon Rondo: There wasn’t much court time for the former Celtic down the stretch, but Rondo’s impact was undeniable. He played just under 30 minutes and finished with seven points and eight assists with a couple steals and two blocked shots.


Celtics turnovers: Boston turned the ball over 19 times which is high but not too outlandish. The bigger problem for Boston was the 32 points those miscues created for New Orleans which was the most by a Boston opponent this season.


Challenges big and small for Celtics tonight

Challenges big and small for Celtics tonight

BOSTON – In the NBA, some teams are built to play small ball with three guards as starters.

Others are constructed to go big with talented, high-impact big men.


And then there’s the New Orleans Pelicans, who seem to start games with both at the same time.

Dealing with New Orleans’ non-traditional starting lineup will be one of the many challenges awaiting the Celtics tonight.

While the Pelicans’ atypical starting five may not necessarily be ideal, there’s no arguing against its effectiveness.

New Orleans starts games with a three-guard lineup that includes 6-foot-1 Rajon Rondo with Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore who are both 6-4 guards. They are joined by the twin terrors – to opposing defenses at least – of 6-11 DeMarcus Cousins and 6-10 Anthony Davis.

They have been New Orleans’ most successful five-man unit, posting a 12-8 record this season. It’s one of the biggest reasons they are come in sixth in the Western Conference at 22-20, trailing Oklahoma City (24-20) by one game.

Boston has played its share of non-traditional lineups under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

Like the Pelicans, the key for Boston to do so successfully lies in the versatility of their power forward.

For New Orleans, that would be Davis.

The Celtics rely on Al Horford to provide a similar element of versatility.

“Last year, we started Amir [Johnson, now with Philadelphia] with Al,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Kelly [Olynyk, now in Miami] played a lot with Al. I think what Al allows you to do, is he gives you another guy that shoots like a traditional guard so he can play both spots and his ability to defend fours [power forwards] allows him to play with anybody.”

How Horford handles his rotating assignments defensively will be among the challenges Boston will contend with tonight.

Here are five under-the-radar storylines to keep tabs on tonight:

We have seen this season how former Celtics return to the TD Garden to light up the Green Team, and tonight’s game is full of potential candidates to keep the tradition set by Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko (Utah) alive and well. Among the ex-Celtics on the Pelicans roster are E’Twaun Moore and Rajon Rondo who are both slated to start tonight. New Orleans roster also includes former Celtics Tony Allen (left fibula fracture) and Jameer Nelson (personal) who are both listed as out tonight.

You won’t ever mistake Horford for Cousins, but the two big men do have at least one thing in common: passing. While both have shown the ability to score (Cousins on a much grander, more consistent scale for sure), one of their biggest strengths is their ability to get teammates involved offensively. Horford averages 5.3 assists per game, which would be tops among all centers, but most of Horford’s playing time this season has come as a power forward. Still, 5.3 assists per game are impressive enough to rank fifth among all forwards this season. As for centers, Cousins’ 5.1 per game is indeed the pace-setter for the rest of the league’s centers.

With Davis’ size, athleticism and versatility, he is one of the select few players whose game has very few holes in it. And while he can score from just about any spot on the floor, keeping Davis in the mid-range zone offensively is key. According to, Davis is shooting 39.3 percent on mid-range shots this season. That’s not horrible, but it is a noticeable drop-off from what he does at the rim in the restricted area (75.8 percent), in the paint non-restricted area (50.8 percent) and on corner 3’s (54.5 percent).

Often the clearest indicator of Boston’s success lies in how well the Celtics rebound. In their current seven-game winning streak, rebounding – surprise, surprise – has been one of their strengths. In the past seven games, Boston has averaged 47.9 rebounds per game. The only team with a higher average in that span is the Los Angeles Lakers (49.3). In addition, Boston is grabbing 50.9 percent of available rebounds, which ranks ninth in the NBA during the seven-game winning streak.

As a rookie last season, Jaylen Brown logged 1,341 regular-season minutes, which was pretty good for a first-year player on a team pegged before his arrival as a playoff-caliber club. Fast forward to this season and another Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum. Despite having played in 44 games this season (Brown appeared in 78 games as a rookie last year), Tatum has literally played more than Brown, with 1,362 minutes already logged. The left knee stiffness that kept him out of practice Saturday was determined to not be an issue, but it’s worth monitoring his health as his impact – and minutes played – continue to rise.