NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - With 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists, it's easy to see how DeMarcus Cousins earned his place in history. But what's just as impressive is his career-high 52 minutes played.
"You know my strength coach had the nerve to ask me do I want to lift after the game," says a laughing DeMarcus Cousins. "I almost lost it. If I had some energy, we would have fought."
Indeed, Boogie left it all on the floor Monday night and kept his composure when everyone around him seemed to be losing theirs. Cousins, often thrown off by calls that don't go his way, played through a lot of questionable officiating en route to some huge plays down the stretch.
"It was one of the best performances I've seen ever in this league, really," says head coach Alvin Gentry.
"You dream about moments like that as a kid. The game coming down to the line and just making big plays down the stretch. It was a good, competitive game. I think we just willed our way through this game."
But even with Cousins' historic stat line, he gave credit to one of the game's unsung heroes who had a tough night scoring but made all of the big plays when they mattered most.
"I think it started with Jrue," says Cousins. "The defense, the pressure he put on the ball, I think the energy just spread throughout the team. It was all effort and defense down the stretch to get us to the remainder of the game. I credit Jrue Holiday just for igniting the team.
Of course, there are corrections to be made. The Pelicans have to clean up defensively and play the way they did late in the fourth quarter of Monday's game more often. And maybe above all, it wouldn't hurt to avoid the slow starts in the third and fourth quarters. But Wednesday's game in Charlotte is another great opportunity for this team that's won five out of six to continue to grow.