Sometimes it only takes one play to dash a franchise's best season in a decade.
New Orleans Pelicans star center DeMarcus Cousins injured his left Achilles on Friday night near the end of his team's victory over the Houston Rockets. General Manager Dell Demps and Gentry both have tenuous job security, and it was expected that both would be back with a playoff appearance - as would Cousins, who is close friends with Anthony Davis, the team's other superstar big man.
The rest of the Pelicans didn't know Cousins was done for the year when they spoke to the media after the game, but the somber mood in the locker room suggested they had an idea how severe his injury might be. "I'm definitely going to pray for him". Everything he's done and what he's tried to do for us and the improvements he's made as a player, on and off the court, has just been great. "All of our guys feel bad about it".
Together, Cousins and Davis are averaging 51.9 points, 23.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 3.6 blocks and 2.8 steals per game. For context, the last players with such lines were Charles Barkley in 1993 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976.
Cousins needed to be carried off the floor by teammates in the aftermath. He has been one of their most important players this season and a big part of the success they've seen as of late.
It's hard to be a New Orleans sports fan right now. Cousins had his second triple-double in three games, finishing with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. The Pelicans also have a deeper wing rotation with playing more off the ball after the additions of and - although the starting lineup that features Holiday, Rondo and fellow guard might cause more problems on the defensive glass without Cousins patrolling the interior alongside Davis.
Sydney Police Officer Recovering
The incident took place nearby the Maroubra Junction Hotel, with patrons and staff directed by police to evacuate the area. The Scot said he saw the police officer being brought outside and he "didn't look very comfortable at all".
After news of the extent of Cousins' injury became apparent, he received an outpouring of support from across the National Basketball Association.
Will the Pelicans look at the body of work as a whole, the best stretch of the season or account for the frustrations of the first few months?
As a result, playoff projection systems considered New Orleans a heavy favorite to return to the postseason for the first time since 2015.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets beat the Atlanta Hawks 121-110, while the LA Lakers overcame the Chicago Bulls 108-103 and the Memphis Grizzlies lost out to the Los Angeles Clippers 100-109. With a sub-par roster and a dearth of trade assets, the Pelicans are unlikely to find meaningful help in advance of the trade deadline.
Whoever is running the show this summer will have to figure out how to handle Cousins' free agency. Of course, a dramatic Davis-led playoff chase is always possible too. SI.com's pick would be Thunder forward Paul George, who emerged as the top snub when the full rosters were announced earlier this week.
James added 11 assists and 10 rebounds and Smith hit a season-high seven 3-pointers as the Cavaliers beat IN for the first time IN four meetings this season.