Holiday, Cousins, Davis lead Pelicans past Memphis 111-104
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By BRETT MARTEL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Jrue Holiday dunked as he was fouled by Grizzlies rookie Dillon Brooks, and that was the first sign the less heralded member of the Pelicans' "Big Three" was about to take over.
Holiday made Memphis pay for trying to lock down All-Star big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, following his dunk with a pair of layups on penetrating dribble drives, then adding floaters from five and 12 feet.
"Anthony told me to be aggressive. He told me to get to 20 points this game and we would win," Holiday said. "I just listened to the captain."
Holiday scored 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, Cousins had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and New Orleans beat Memphis 111-104 on Saturday night.
Holiday said the attention Memphis paid to Cousins and Davis often left him with only one defender to beat.
"In situations like that, you just have to make a play," Holiday said.
Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds but did not score his first points of the second half until he dunked with 1:15 to go in the game, giving the Pelicans a 108-102 lead.
"We've got other guys who are able to score," Davis asserted, noting that Memphis was "sending two guys at me, (or) three guys and I was just trying to facilitate other guys."
Darius Miller added 12 points in a reserve role for New Orleans, which never trailed but nearly blew a 21-point lead.
Trailing 59-44 at halftime, Memphis scored the first 13 points of the third quarter, part of a 16-2 run that trimmed New Orleans' lead to a single point with most of the third quarter remaining.
The Pelicans briefly rebuilt their lead to 12, but it was back to a single possession by the end of the quarter after Wayne Selden - who scored a career-high 31 points against the team he played for earlier this season - hit a 3 to make it 83-81.
New Orleans didn't lead by double digits again, and Cousins had to briefly leave the game after committing his fifth foul with nearly seven minutes to go. But Cousins came through with a late block on Tyreke Evans that led to Davis' dunk on the other end.
"They made some tough 3s to cut the game and even get it to one point, but I do like the fact that we maintained our poise and were able to finish," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "Obviously, Wayne Selden played his best game as a pro. He shot the heck out of the basketball. He was one of the main reasons they were able to stay in the game."
Marc Gasol scored 16 points for Memphis, which lost for only the second time in six games. Evans scored 12 points against his former team and former LSU player Jarell Martin had 11. But the Grizzlies were short-handed. Guards Mario Chalmers (right shoulder) and Andrew Harrison (left shoulder), who were listed as questionable following Friday night's victory over Sacramento, did not play against the Pelicans. It got worse when starting forward JaMychal Green left with a right ankle injury with 9:05 left in the third quarter.
"I can't say enough positive things about what our guys did tonight. They competed against all odds, all circumstances," Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "We just decided it wasn't going to be an easy night for the other side when it very well could have been after getting down in the first half. Again, nothing but a lot of respect and a lot of credit to our guys for their makeup and fortitude."
Grizzlies: Green had 16 rebounds and eight points before leaving the game. ... Brooks had 10 points before fouling out in the final minute. Ben McLemore also scored 10. ... Went 15 of 16 on free throws. ... Fell to 5-16 on the road.
Pelicans: The game marked the eighth time this season Cousins, Davis and Holiday each had at least 20 points in the same game. ... Finished 26 of 32 on free throws. ... Went just 7 of 27 from 3-point range. ... Improved to 12-9 at home.
Davis attempted only two shots the entire second half, but Holiday defended his teammate's decision-making, given Memphis' efforts to try to deny Davis the ball.
"That's the unselfishness that our team really feeds off of and that's what makes him a leader," Holiday said. "He can force as many shots as he wants to, but getting us good shots" is his priority.
Grizzlies: Hosts Philadelphia on Monday night.
Pelicans: Host Chicago on Monday night.
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Updated January 20, 2018