Few teams in the NBA offer a matchup problem as unique as the New Orleans Pelicans, who feature two All-Star big men in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
One is lanky with arms that reach to the sky. The other is wider and known for his brute strength.
Both can move and shoot unusually well for their size.
On Tuesday night, the Wizards will see the Pelicans' twin towers for the first time since Cousins landed in New Orleans. He was acquired from the Kings in a Feb. 20 trade, just 16 days after the second and final meeting between the teams in the 2016-17 season.
Cousins is a player the Wizards know well. He and Wizards guard John Wall teamed up at the University of Kentucky back in the 2009-10 season before the two were drafted into the NBA. Veteran players on the Wizards have played against both Cousins and Davis over the years. But now they have to deal with them at the same time.
"I'm not even gonna lie. It's going to be a bloodbath probably," Wizards center Marcin Gortat said.
"It's going to be a very, very tough matchup for me and [Markieff Morris] and for all of our bigs. It's a challenge. These two are the best in the league, hands down the best in the league."
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A five-time All-Star, Cousins is averaging a ridiculous line this season of 26.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks, all while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from three. Davis, a four-time All-Star, is putting up 25.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.1 steals per game while shooting an absurd 56.9 percent.
Cousins is 27 and Davis is 24. Though their pairing has amounted to just a .500 record so far this season, they have helped lead one of the best offenses in basketball. The Pelicans are fifth in the NBA in points per game (110.8) and eighth in offensive rating (109.6).
"They can score from so many places on the court," Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. "We've gotta manage them the best we can."
Gortat thinks it will be all about limiting their efficiency.
"They're probably going to get their 20 or 30 points. It's just important if they are going to go 10-for-15 or 10-for-30 [shooting]," Gortat said.
Playing against Cousins also brings an element of intimidation. He weighs 270 pounds and likes to play physical. He talks plenty of trash, both to opponents and referees. Cousins has led the NBA in technicals each of the past two seasons and he's in the lead this year, too.
Gortat knows what to expect.
"He just hates people. That's how it is. That's what makes him so great," Gortat said. "I don't like a lot of centers, either. The difference is that I just don't tell them that."
Gortat said he considers Cousins to be the best center in the NBA. Now he gets to see him with his running mate.
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