New Orleans Pelicans Grades: Pels Stomp Sacramento Kings Behind Boogie

Mar 31, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) celebrates after a basket and foul with guard E'Twaun Moore (55) during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) celebrates after a basket and foul with guard E'Twaun Moore (55) during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

In his first game against his former team, New Orleans Pelicans’ star center DeMarcus Cousins took over and helped the Pels dominate the Kings at home.

The New Orleans Pelicans hosted the Sacramento Kings in tonight’s game. It was the first game for DeMarcus Cousins against his former team. Tonight was also the first game that Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway returned to the Smoothie King Center, since the trade.

To put it simply, tonight became a highly emotional game. A statement game of sorts for both teams.

However, the story of the game became the Pelicans making their statement loud and clear.

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New Orleans took a 31-19 first quarter advantage and did not look back. The Pelicans used 10 made three-pointers, blocked 13 shots and finished with 17 steals on 21 Kings turnovers in the win. New Orleans took advantage in transition, helping them shoot 48.4 percent from the field.

The Pelicans got the crowd behind them and kept them excited throughout the game. From highlight reel putbacks to athletic blocks, New Orleans kept the excitement up all night. It took Sacramento out of their rhythm and eventually out of the game.

DeMarcus led the charge for the Pelicans, with 37 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Anthony Davis was the other star, with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.

Ben McLemore was the leading scorer for the Kings, with 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench. This win puts the Pelicans 4.5 games back of the Portland Trail-Blazers of the final playoff spot out West. There are only six games remaining on the Pels’ schedule.

84. 117. 69. Final. 89

PG. . TIM FRAZIER. B. Tim Frazier had a much better game than his previous performances tonight. He only had eight points sure, but his five assists did help keep the offense flowing. Unlike previous opponents, the Kings did not have the inside defenders to keep Frazier contained. He got into the paint and moved the ball around the court for the open shots. His defense gave Sacramento massive fits, finishing with four steals on the night. His effort continues to be strong, even in his slump. Solid game.

SG/PG. . JRUE HOLIDAY. B-. The Jrue Holiday experience at the off-guard has been an interesting transition. Tonight was one of the tougher ones. Jrue finished 2-9 from the field for just four points. However, he did the work in the other areas of the game. Holiday had eight assists, five boards, three steals and two blocks in the game. His shot is adjusting to different defensive strategies, but he is making his mark on the team. It’s still a work in progress, though, as his four turnovers do leave another tough mark on a pretty okay game for Jrue.

C. Solomon Hill continues to make little impact, even in favorable matchups. Hill finished 3-7 from the field and only 1-4 from deep for seven points. He did have two steals, yet failed to grab a single rebound in a game he had a size advantage in his matchup all night. That’s not a good look, for a guy who is trying to show he’s worthy of a starting wing spot in the NBA. He needs to make more of an impact soon.. SF/PF. . SOLOMON HILL

A-. Anthony Davis did not put up massive points, but he did have a dominating impact tonight. Davis finished with 19 points on 9-19 shooting, to go with 12 rebounds and four offensive boards. The Kings did not have the size and athletic ability to keep him off the glass. On defense, he gave massive fits. A.D. finished with five blocks on the night, sending Kings shots back on a consistent basis. Add only one turnover from Davis and a +25 rating with him on the floor, and you’ve got a fantastic performance in a convincing win.. PF/C. . ANTHONY DAVIS

DEMARCUS COUSINS. A+. DeMarcus Cousins sure had a statement to make tonight, against his former team. Boogie would finish the game 12-21 from the field and shot the lights out from deep, making five of his eight attempts from long range. The Kings did not have an answer for the former face of their franchise. His size inside and experience against the young Kings’ bigs took over this game. He let the energy of the New Orleans’ crowd carry him to one of his best performances of the season. He wanted to prove something tonight. With his control of the game, he sure did.. C.

C+. Jordan Crawford did get to double-digit scoring, with 12 points in 25 minutes. However, it was not pretty shooting. Crawford went 4-12 from the field and 2-7 from deep, struggling all night to get his shots to go. However, he made marks elsewhere, finishing with four assists and a block. He is doing his best at being a threat, for the Pels’ to get proper spacing. It works. Tonight was just not a great shooting night for him.. SG. . JORDAN CRAWFORD

B+. E’Twaun Moore had a fantastic night in his role. Moore shot 4-5 from the field for 13 points and finished with the highest net rating of the night at +28. Add four rebounds, a steal and a block on the night and it’s easy to see how important Moore’s impact is on this team. He’s the glue that aids the bench and starting unit equally, when he hits the floor. He’s a fantastic role player and did a great job tonight helping the Pels close this game out early.. SF/SG. . E'TWAUN MOORE

PF/SF. . DANTE CUNNINGHAM. A-. Dante Cunningham had one of the best performances of his season tonight. His shot and effort was one of the most exciting factors of the game. Dante shot 6-10 from the field for 12 points, which included some dunks in transition. His night also ended with seven rebounds, two offensive rebounds, two steals and a block. In the biggest stretch of the game where the Pelicans completely took over, Dante was the difference maker. When he wants to, he can be a difference maker on both ends this team can rely on.

Final Thoughts:

  • Quinn CookDonatas Motiejunas and Cheick Diallo all saw three minutes of garbage time tonight as well. Cook was the only one who put up any real statistics, with five points on two made baskets. One of the most impressive things about Cook is his drive. After the game, he was seen shooting around, practicing his game even more. He wants an NBA job. If he can continue to do things like he did in his brief minutes tonight, he can certainly achieve that.
  • This game was an emotional roller coaster for the Pelicans. However, it was also a much needed win. New Orleans wants Boogie to become comfortable in this city and the move to his new NBA home. The crowd certainly gave him all the love he could want, after his spirited performance tonight. As a Pels fan, tonight could not have gone better.

Next: Five Free Agents Targets for New Orleans Pelicans: Part Two

The New Orleans Pelicans will look to keep the good times rolling at home Sunday. They will play their final game versus an Eastern Conference foe, with a game against the Chicago Bulls. Tip-off is on schedule for 5:00 p.m. CST.