The New Orleans Pelicans finally sit in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture, and normally a win over the Houston Rockets would boost their confidence down the stretch. Unfortunately, Friday's 115-113 win over the Rockets was haunted by the loss of DeMarcus Cousins, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon and will miss the remainder of the season. The injury occurred with 12 seconds left in the game after the big man missed a free throw and hustled to go for the offensive rebound. He attempted to get back up, but went right back down and exited the game. The All-Star starter had a triple-double of 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists before going down, while his running mate, Anthony Davis, added 27 points in the Pelicans' fourth straight win, and seventh in the past eight games. Jrue Holiday had 21 points of his own, and sealed the win by intentionally missing a free throw, which allowed time to run out on the Rockets. Houston's loss comes despite Chris Paul's season-high 38 points, James Harden's 23 points and 11 assists, and Eric Gordon's 27 points. They will return home on Sunday afternoon to host the Phoenix Suns, while the Pelicans begin life without Cousins when they host the Los Angeles Clippers that same day.
LeBron's Triple-Double Leads Cavs at Home
The Cleveland Cavaliers made lineup changes heading in to Friday's game with the Indiana Pacers, but it was the one mainstay that took over in the win. LeBron James had a triple-double of 26 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in the Cavs' 115-108 win over the Pacers. The King's 63rd career triple-double helped him overcome 11 turnovers, which was more than the rest of his team combined. Six of those turnovers came in the fourth quarter, making things interesting down the stretch, as he became the third player in the last 15 years with a quadruple-double. That short list includes James Harden and Russell Westbrook J.R. Smith added 23 points for Cleveland, who shot 56 percent from the floor in their 28th win of the year. This has been a team full of turmoil as of late, featuring the newest member, Isaiah Thomas, who left the arena before the media got to the locker room after the game. The recent drama caused many to think that Kevin Love throwing his hoodie at Jeff Green on the sideline was an act of turmoil, which Green laughed off after the game, saying it was all done in fun. The team was without Dwayne Wade, who is dealing with a family matter. The veteran could miss more time for the same reason. The Cavaliers stay home to host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, while the Pacers, who got 25 points from Victor Oladipo on Friday, will host the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
Michigan State Supports Victims, Beats Wisconsin
Plenty of controversy has surrounded Michigan State University Athletics this past week with the sentencing of Larry Nassar, and now the revelation of hidden sexual assault cases from the football and basketball programs. The school attempted to come together in Friday's basketball game, where the sixth-ranked Spartans beat the Wisconsin Badgers, 76-61. The Izzone was decked out in teal to support the hundreds of victims in this tragic case, as the investigation is ongoing. Head coach Tom Izzo said after the game that his team had not yet fully taken in the report, but will work with any investigation. Meanwhile, head football coach Mark Dantonio straight up denied the reports that he knew of any of these cases. Back to Friday's game, Miles Bridges had 24 points to lead MSU, who led by as many as 18, but saw that lead trimmed down to six in the second half. After losing two of three to rivals Michigan and Ohio State, the Spartans have now won three in a row. Cassius Winston added 17 points and six assists and Nick Ward chipped in a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, as they improved to 7-2 in conference play. Wisconsin on the other hand have now dropped five in a row and will return home on Monday to host Nebraska. Michigan State looks to stay focused on the game and will visit Maryland on Sunday afternoon.