NO
SAC

No Text

Cousins has 41 and 23 in Sacramento return, Pelicans rally

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins could exhale at last. The nerves were long gone, his highly anticipated return to Sacramento in the books - and what a beauty it was.

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.

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.

''It was pretty emotional,'' Cousins said. ''I was super nervous coming in. The anticipation was like through the roof. I really couldn't wait for the ball to go up and we could just actually get to the basketball part.''

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.

Rookie De'Aaron Fox scored 14 points off the bench to lead seven Kings in double figures.

Cousins received overwhelming support and love with a standing ovation during pregame introductions with a few boos. After his initial basket, the Kings answered with a 17-2 run.

A video and highlight tribute to Cousins played on the scoreboard during a first-quarter timeout as he was formally welcomed back to the city where he played seven seasons, and the big man gave a big wave.

''I loved it,'' Cousins said. ''I've got nothing but love for this city. I came here as a kid and left as a man. As I stated many times, I've got people here I consider family. These fans have been great to me throughout the years.''

''BOOGIE THANK YOU, LOVE YOU, MISS YOU'' read one sign held by a female fan in Golden 1 Center.

''Very talented dude,'' Kings coach Dave Joerger said.

Cousins, who was fined $25,000 last week for cursing at a Grizzlies fan in Memphis, shot 14 for 25, dished out six assists and kept his emotions in check.

At the 9:23 mark of the first quarter, Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein were tied up under the basket. Cousins then carried the ball out of the crowd and set it down in front of the New Orleans bench before the jump ball.

''This was just as big a game for them as it was for us,'' Cousins said. ''We knew they would be juiced. We knew they would come out swinging and that's exactly what they did.''

He had faced the Kings once already since his February trade, in New Orleans on March 31, and scored 37 points while making 12 of 21 shots in the Pelicans' 117-89 victory.

''For him, he came here as a young kid, really. He'd been with this franchise the entire time,'' coach Alvin Gentry said. ''You have friends in the city, you have things that you've done just from a community service point of view that you had. And then very emotional when he left here. I was there when he got on the plane. I think people don't realize, they look at these guys as something other than a 22- 25- 27-year-old kid, and that's what they are. I don't care how big they are, they've got the same emotions as everyone else has.

''It's tough, because it wasn't his decision to leave. I think when that happens, it stings, it hurts initially. I think he has found himself in a positon where we really appreciate everything he brings to the table.''

WEBBER TRIBUTE

Former Kings star Chris Webber worked the nationally televised game for TNT and received his own video highlight recognition and a standing ovation late in the first quarter. Webber stood, smiled and acknowledged the fans.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: Darius Miller started in place of Davis and was scoreless. ... After being outrebounded 63-42 in a 103-93 loss at Portland two nights earlier and giving up 18 offensive boards, New Orleans outrebounded Sacramento 47-34.

Kings: As the Kings returned from a three-game road trip, Zach Randolph made his home debut for the Kings after missing the Oct. 18 opener against Houston following oral surgery.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Host Cleveland on Saturday.

Kings: Host Washington on Sunday.

---

More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
D. Cousins
0 F
D. Fox
5 G
27.3 Min. Per Game 27.3
15.0 Pts. Per Game 15.0
5.0 Ast. Per Game 5.0
5.0 Reb. Per Game 5.0
49.5 Field Goal % 42.9
48.3 Three Point % 46.6
75.9 Free Throw % 91.7
  Defensive rebound by DeMarcus Cousins 0:17
  Willie Cauley-Stein missed hook shot 0:20
+ 2 DeMarcus Cousins made dunk 0:33
  Offensive rebound by DeMarcus Cousins 0:33
  DeMarcus Cousins missed layup 0:38
  Defensive rebound by DeMarcus Cousins 0:50
  Bogdan Bogdanovic missed jump shot 0:53
+ 2 DeMarcus Cousins made dunk, assist by Jameer Nelson 1:15
  Defensive rebound by Jameer Nelson 1:27
  De'Aaron Fox missed jump shot 1:30
+ 1 Jrue Holiday made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:48
Team Stats
Points 114 106
Field Goals 42-86 (48.8%) 38-81 (46.9%)
3-Pointers 13-32 (40.6%) 7-20 (35.0%)
Free Throws 17-23 (73.9%) 23-25 (92.0%)
Total Rebounds 55 40
Offensive 10 5
Defensive 37 29
Team 8 6
Assists 22 25
Steals 5 8
Blocks 3 5
Turnovers 15 12
Fouls 24 17
Technicals 2 4
41 PTS, 23 REB, 6 AST
13 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Pelicans 2-3 27293226114
home team logo Kings 1-4 40301719106
Team Stats
away team logo Pelicans 2-3 110.0 PPG 45.6 RPG 26.9 APG
home team logo Kings 1-4 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
D. Cousins F PPG RPG APG FG%
D. Fox G 11.6 PPG 2.8 RPG 4.4 APG 41.2 FG%
Top Scorers
D. Cousins F 41 PTS 23 REB 6 AST
D. Fox G 14 PTS 2 REB 5 AST
48.8 FG% 46.9
40.6 3PT FG% 35.0
73.9 FT% 92.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Cousins 43 41 23 6 1 1 4 5 14/25 3/5 10/12 8 15 74 +1
J. Holiday 40 20 4 7 0 1 3 4 7/13 2/4 4/5 0 4 36 +14
E. Moore 38 12 3 1 1 0 3 3 5/12 2/5 0/0 0 3 15 +11
D. Cunningham 34 6 4 1 1 0 0 3 2/8 2/6 0/2 1 3 13 +13
D. Miller 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 0 0 -15
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Cousins 43 41 23 6 1 1 4 5 14/25 3/5 10/12 8 15 74 +1
J. Holiday 40 20 4 7 0 1 3 4 7/13 2/4 4/5 0 4 36 +14
E. Moore 38 12 3 1 1 0 3 3 5/12 2/5 0/0 0 3 15 +11
D. Cunningham 34 6 4 1 1 0 0 3 2/8 2/6 0/2 1 3 13 +13
D. Miller 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 0 0 -15
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Nelson 35 18 4 6 0 1 2 1 7/13 4/8 0/0 0 4 33 +18
I. Clark 20 7 1 1 0 0 0 4 2/5 0/2 3/4 0 1 10 +9
T. Allen 12 6 4 0 2 0 2 3 3/6 0/1 0/0 0 4 10 -8
C. Diallo 9 4 4 0 0 0 1 1 2/3 0/0 0/0 1 3 7 -3
R. Rondo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Ajinca - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
O. Asik - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Davis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Cooke - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Hill - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Jones - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
F. Jackson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 114 47 22 5 3 15 24 42/86 13/32 17/23 10 37 198 +40
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
Z. Randolph 29 13 9 3 0 1 2 0 5/12 1/2 2/3 1 8 27 -12
W. Cauley-Stein 29 12 2 3 3 0 0 0 5/9 0/0 2/2 0 2 23 -11
B. Hield 19 12 3 0 0 0 2 2 5/9 1/3 1/1 1 2 13 -1
J. Jackson 15 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 3/4 1/2 0/0 0 1 10 +5
G. Hill 30 6 3 5 0 0 1 3 2/4 0/0 2/2 0 3 18 -8
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
Z. Randolph 29 13 9 3 0 1 2 0 5/12 1/2 2/3 1 8 27 -12
W. Cauley-Stein 29 12 2 3 3 0 0 0 5/9 0/0 2/2 0 2 23 -11
B. Hield 19 12 3 0 0 0 2 2 5/9 1/3 1/1 1 2 13 -1
J. Jackson 15 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 3/4 1/2 0/0 0 1 10 +5
G. Hill 30 6 3 5 0 0 1 3 2/4 0/0 2/2 0 3 18 -8
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Fox 24 14 2 5 0 0 0 3 4/13 1/1 5/5 0 2 26 -9
S. Labissiere 15 11 3 0 1 2 1 0 4/6 1/2 2/2 0 3 16 +1
G. Temple 24 10 0 1 1 1 3 2 2/8 1/6 5/5 0 0 11 -5
B. Bogdanovic 25 10 2 4 0 0 2 2 4/7 0/2 2/2 0 2 18 -2
K. Koufos 18 8 8 2 3 1 1 3 3/6 0/0 2/3 3 5 23 +3
V. Carter 7 3 1 1 0 0 0 2 1/3 1/2 0/0 0 1 6 -1
F. Mason III - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Cooley - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Sampson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Richardson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Papagiannis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
H. Giles - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 106 34 25 8 5 12 17 38/81 7/20 23/25 5 29 191 -40