NBA Basketball

Pelicans still adjusting to life without Cousins

NEW YORK -- Since losing DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending Achilles injury, New Orleans has struggled. And against the 76ers on Friday, the Pelicans reached their lowest point since Cousins was injured.

The Pelicans attempt to get going Saturday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets, who also are struggling.

New Orleans (28-26) will make the short trip after a hideous showing on offense in a 100-82 loss. The Pelicans set a season-low in points and field-goal percentage (34.7) while also scoring 11 points in the third quarter, also a season-low.

"I didn't think we started the game off with the intensity level we were going to need to have against this team," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "Offensively, we didn't have any kind of flow, any kind of rhythm, anything."

Since losing Cousins to a torn left Achilles, the Pelicans are 1-5 and averaging 103 points. They are allowing 112.8 points per game.

Anthony Davis was held to 14 on 6 of 19 shooting in a game New Orleans never led and trailed by as many 35. Since Cousins was injured, Davis is averaging 26.3 points on 44.6 percent (59 of 132) from the field.

In the last two games, Davis is shooting 34.2 percent (12 of 35) and New Orleans has lost by a combined 42 points to Utah and Philadelphia.

One of New Orleans best showings of the season occurred against the Nets on Dec. 27 when they posted a 128-113 win. Davis scored 33 points while Rajon Rondo handed out a franchise-record 25 assists.

Rondo didn't start Friday and will likely come off the bench Saturday. The Pelicans will also hope to get more production out of Jrue Holiday, who was held to nine on 3 of 11 shooting.

The Nets (19-37) are 1-8 in their last nine games since Spencer Dinwiddie hit the game-winning shot Jan. 21 at Detroit. They also are 0-5 at home since coming back from a 16-point deficit to beat Miami on Jan. 19.

The Nets are averaging 102.1 points in their last nine games. Opponents are averaging 111.6 points.

On Wednesday, the Nets allowed the Pistons to shoot 47.8 percent in a 115-106 loss at Detroit.

Allen Crabbe led the Nets with 34 points and is looking to get 20 points in consecutive games for the first time since early January.

Joe Harris and DeMarre Carroll added 18 and 14 respectively and remained with the Nets after Thursday's trade deadline.

"I hope it releases Allen because that's the Allen we want," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters. "Just more aggressive, more assertive."

Harris and Carroll were mentioned in trade rumors but did not become former Nets. The Nets added veteran forward Dante Cunningham from the Pelicans for Rashad Vaughn, who played four minutes in his lone game for the Nets Tuesday following a trade from Milwaukee.

Brooklyn's front line is playing its eighth straight game without Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) and the Nets are 2-8 when the third-year forward is out.

"I think he gives us some depth obviously," Atkinson said of Cunningham. "I think with guys being in and out it just gives us more depth there. Love his toughness, he's versatile, he can play the 4 or the 3, it just gives us a little more depth."

The Nets will also be without guard Caris LeVert (concussion) for a second straight game. LeVert was concussed on a hard screen by Nene at the end of the third quarter Friday.

Updated February 10, 2018

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