Kings

Cousins benched in fourth quarter over 'coach's decision' in Pelicans win

Cousins benched in fourth quarter over 'coach's decision' in Pelicans win

BOX SCORE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Anthony Davis didn't seem fazed that fellow All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was sitting on the bench during crunch time.

Instead, he just took over.

Davis scored 46 points and grabbed 21 rebounds Saturday night, leading the New Orleans Pelicans to a 125-122 victory in overtime against the Charlotte Hornets. He had 15 points in the fourth quarter and nine more in overtime, including a three-point play on an offensive rebound to put the Pelicans ahead for good with 1:11 left in the extra period.

The Pelicans won despite Cousins not returning to the court after picking up his fifth foul with 9 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Cousins declined interviews after the game.

"It's Coach's decision," Davis said. "All that matters is that we won. All that other stuff, it doesn't matter. No one cares about that. We're just trying to get wins. Whatever it takes."

When asked about pairing Cousins with Davis on the floor, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said: "What we need is time to make it work."

New Orleans had hoped to make up ground in the Western Conference standings, but came in just 2-6 since acquiring Cousins in a blockbuster All-Star weekend trade with the Sacramento Kings.

Cousins seemed frustrated most of the night grappling with scrappy Hornets center Cody Zeller, who dunked over Cousins on a fastbreak after Cousins turned the ball over in the front court on a bad pass.

Cousins picked up his third foul with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the second quarter, forcing him to the bench. He got his fifth when he appeared to lose his cool early in the fourth quarter when he blatantly threw his elbow at Zeller and was called for an offensive foul.

With Cousins out, Davis went on a tear.

He made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished 18 of 31 from the field, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.

"The movement that he had and the spacing he created I thought was the way he got most of his shots," Gentry said of Davis. "He was very good creating and going quickly and not giving them an opportunity to double him. When he does that and he gets into space and he's feeling good about his shot and what he's doing, he's very difficult to guard."

After a turnover by Charlotte's Nic Batum and a missed 3-pointer, Davis drove the lane and made a floater to put the Pelicans up by 5 with 20 seconds left in overtime. Batum scored on a layup to cut the lead to 123-120, but Holiday added two free throws and it appeared the game was over.

But after a layup by Marco Belinelli, Holiday was called for traveling in the backcourt with 1.8 seconds left giving the Hornets a chance to send the game into double overtime. However, Walker's long 3-point attempt was off the mark at the buzzer.

The Hornets had a chance to win at the end of regulation after Davis missed a baseline jumper with 8 seconds left.

TIP INS

Pelicans: Jordan Crawford had 19 points and Holiday added 15 points and 13 assists. ... Davis started despite injuring his wrist in Wednesday night's 94-87 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Hornets: Attempted 46 3-point shots, making just 13.

ZELLER: COUSINS A TOUGH COVER

Zeller had nothing but positive things to say about Cousins after the game.

"He's such a talented player that you just try to make it tough on him, try to take away all of his easy ones, keep him off the free throw line, the offensive glass," said Zeller, who limited Cousins to 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

WILLIAMS BIG NIGHT

The Pelicans' win offset an impressive night from Marvin Williams, who had a season-high 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds for Charlotte. Kemba Walker had 24 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds and Batum also scored 24 points.

"He's been huge for us all season, especially how he organizes us on defense and stuff that fans that don't necessarily notice," Zeller said.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Return home to host Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Hornets: Play at home Monday night against the Chicago Bulls, a team they are chasing for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

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AP

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.