By Brett Martel, AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins scored 16 of his 20 points after Anthony Davis left with an ankle injury in the third quarter, and the New Orleans Pelicans held off the Detroit Pistons 112-109 on Monday night.
Rajon Rondo capped a 12-point, 15-assist performance with two transition layups in the last 1:21 to help secure a victory the Pelicans needed to restore morale after a listless blowout loss in Minnesota over the weekend.
Davis dominated before he left with 4:41 remaining in the third, scoring 30 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 27 minutes. He walked to the locker room, favoring his right ankle, and never returned.
Cousins, who also had 10 rebounds, picked up the slack, and E’Twaun Moore finished with 23 points.
Tobias Harris scored 25 points and Avery Bradley had 24 for the Pistons, who’ve lost three of four. Andre Drummond, who missed two of Detroit’s previous three games, had 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Drummond converted alley-oop and driving dunks in the last 1:04, pulling the Pistons within 111-109 with 39 seconds left. But Bradley missed a 21-footer with 11 seconds remaining and also was off the mark with a 3 that could have tied it after Holiday missed one of two free throws with 5 seconds left.
New Orleans led by 14 halfway through the third quarter, when Cousins found Davis for a fast-break dunk.
But Davis hurt his ankle less than two minutes later, and the Pistons capitalized with a 9-0 run highlighted by Bradley’s 3-pointer and driving layup.
Fortunately for New Orleans, Cousins came through in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans was in control early and led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter when Moore hit a layup and an 18-foot pull-up on consecutive possessions.
But the Pelicans’ rhythm seemed disrupted after Cousins was called for a couple quick fouls and slammed a water bottle onto the court as he was subbed out of the game. Water spilled across the court in front of New Orleans’ bench, causing a delay.
Early in the second quarter, Detroit tied the game on Dwight Buycks’ driving finger roll, and the Pistons led by six on Bradley’s layup minutes later.
Davis helped New Orleans regain momentum and take a 59-56 lead into halftime, hitting a 3 and a driving dunk late in the second quarter.
Pistons: Lost their fifth straight road game to fall to 8-13 away from home. … Former Pelicans guard Ish Smith had 16 points. Reggie Bullock and Buycks each scored 10 points. … The Pistons were 8 of 27 from 3-point range.
Pelicans: Holiday finished with 14 points. … Pelicans reserves scored only 13 points. … New Orleans made 6 of 22 3-point attempts.
Pistons: Visit Brooklyn on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: Visit Memphis on Wednesday night.
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