NEW ORLEANS — DeMarcus Cousins had 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists, Anthony Davis scored 34 points, and the All-Star pair led a 17-point New Orleans comeback in the final five minutes of regulation before the Pelicans pulled out a 132-128 victory over the Chicago Bulls in double overtime Monday night.
Cousins scored seven points in the second overtime on a 3-pointer, a turnaround jumper and two free throws with 8.2 seconds left. He became the first NBA player since Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972 to have as many as 40 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
E'Twaun Moore scored 15 points, including a 3 in the second overtime to help the Pelicans win for the fifth time in six games.
Jerian Grant had 22 points and 13 assists, and Robin Lopez also scored 22 for the Bulls, who appeared well on their way to their fifth victory in six games when they opened the fourth quarter with a 23-5 run to take their largest lead at 104-86.
Chicago still led by 17 when Bobby Portis hit a pair of free throws with 5:06 left in the fourth quarter. But Cousins and Davis led New Orleans back with a stunning 21-2 run. Jrue Holiday tied it at 110 on a 3 with 46 seconds left, and Davis briefly gave New Orleans the lead with an alley-oop dunk of Holiday's lob (see full recap).
Murray's 38 points lead Nuggets over Trail Blazers
DENVER — Jamal Murray scored a career-high 38 points, including a three-point play in the final minute, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 104-101 on Monday night.
Nikola Jokic had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Will Barton hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds to secure the win and spoil Jusuf Nurkic's return to Denver.
Nurkic had 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in his first game back at Pepsi Center. Damian Lillard had 25 points and seven assists for Portland.
Nurkic played two-plus seasons with the Nuggets to begin his career, and was playing his first game in Denver since he was dealt to Portland last season. He received a smattering of boos when he was introduced as a starter and a few during the game (see full recap).
Bucks beat Suns hours after firing Kidd
MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton spent three-plus years under Jason Kidd's tutelage, blossoming into a dangerous scorer with the Milwaukee Bucks.
He showed off what he learned in the Bucks' first game without Kidd.
Middleton scored 35 points, Malcolm Brogdon added a career-high 32 and Milwaukee beat the Phoenix Suns 109-105 on Monday night hours after firing Kidd.
"It's tough for me," Middleton said. "He took my game to another level. He took this team to a whole other level. Today was a tough day."
Assistant Joe Prunty was promoted to replace Kidd for the rest of the year. After a slow start, the Bucks heeded the new coach's call to focus (see full recap).
Rockets come back to top Heat
HOUSTON — Chris Paul wasn't thrilled with how the Houston Rockets played Monday night.
The veteran was perfectly happy with the outcome though.
James Harden scored 28 points and the Rockets overcame a big early deficit to beat the Miami Heat 99-90.
"You have those games during the season where (you) win the game and move on ... out of 82 of them sometimes it's going to be ugly, but you just want to win," Paul said.
Miami led by double digits before halftime, but the game stayed close throughout most of the second half. It was tied with about three minutes left when Harden hit a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired. That was the start of a 7-2 run that made it 95-90 with 38 seconds left (see full recap).