SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- DeMarcus Cousins immediately scored after winning the opening tip and never stopped on the way to 41 points and 23 rebounds, and the emotional big man dominated his old team to rally the New Orleans Pelicans past the Kings 114-106 on Thursday night in his highly anticipated return.
Cousins took the crowd at Golden 1 Center on a trip down memory lane, then left them with some heartache after a spectacular performance. He waved to his supportive former home fans as highlights showed of his time in California's capital.
He hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:21 to play for a 108-106 lead and the Pelicans held on -- and Cousins finally got some help in a second-half comeback after New Orleans trailed by 14 at intermission playing without injured star Anthony Davis.
Jameer Nelson contributed 18 points with four 3-pointers with Davis sidelined with a left knee injury sustained at Portland on Tuesday. The Pelicans were down 70-56 at halftime with Cousins largely a one-man show already with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
De'Aaron Fox scored 14 points off the bench to lead seven Kings in double figures (see full recap).
Griffin 3 at the buzzer gives Clippers victory
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Blake Griffin made a 3-pointer as time expired and the Los Angeles Clippers remained unbeaten with a 104-103 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
Griffin, who scored 16 of his 25 points during the fourth quarter, got the ball on the left side of the floor and hit the 3-pointer just inside the line, the game's sixth lead change during the final two minutes.
DeAndre Jordan had seven points and 18 rebounds for Los Angeles, which at 4-0 is one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the NBA. Danilo Gallinari and Austin Rivers had 16 points apiece for the Clippers.
Damian Lillard scored 14 of his 25 points during the third quarter for Portland (3-2). C.J. McCollum had 23 points, but missed one of two free throws with five seconds remaining that could have given the Blazers a three-point lead.
All five Portland starters scored in double figures. Ed Davis had 10 rebounds (see full recap).
Horford, Irving help Celtics top Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Al Horford had 27 points and nine rebounds, and the Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks 96-89 on Thursday night.
Kyrie Irving added 24 points and seven assists for Boston, which avenged a loss to Milwaukee in Boston earlier this month.
The game was played at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly known as the MECCA, which served as the Bucks' home from 1968 until the team moved into the Bradley Center in 1988.
The Bucks chose to play one game this season at the 11,000-seat arena to mark the franchise's 50th anniversary. The team will move into a new arena next season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points for Milwaukee. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon added 15 apiece (see full recap).