LOS ANGELES: Anthony Davis finished with 27 points as New Orleans edged Houston 115-113 but the Pelicans weren’t celebrating.
They learned that DeMarcus Cousins could be out for the rest of the season with a possible Achilles injury.
The Pelicans played with composure down the stretch on Friday night (Saturday in Manila) despite giving up a 21-point lead as the Rockets staged a furious late rally in the battle between two of the hottest teams in the NBA.
But the win took a back seat to the injury suffered by Cousins who landed awkwardly on his left leg while attempting to corral his own rebound off a free throw.
Cousins, who was named a starter last week to the NBA all-star game, is expected to undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the damage but US sports broadcaster ESPN reported he suffered an Achilles tendon tear.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was in a somber mood after the game.
“We’re scared about it,” Gentry said. “I feel horrible for him.”
Gentry noted “the improvements in all areas that he’s made on and off the court,” and said Cousins is “a guy that’s trying to better himself.” The coach expressed hope the injury is not severe “but when it’s an Achilles, you just never know.”
Cousins, 27, was hurt while trying to poke the ball away from Rockets Trevor Ariza. He hobbled a couple of times on his good leg then collapsed to the floor and stayed there until he was helped up and assisted to the dressing room with eight seconds to go.
He had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in the win over the Rockets, recording his second triple-double in the last three games. He is averaging 25.4 points and 12.9 assists a game this season.
Elsewhere, LeBron James recorded the 63rd triple-double of his brilliant career and J.R. Smith scored 23 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers breathed some life into their offense with a 115-108 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
James finished with 26 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as Cleveland won for just the fourth time in 11 games. James also had 11 turnovers.
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 41 points and 13 rebounds to help the Milwaukee Bucks defeat the Brooklyn Nets 116-91. Antetokounmpo returned after sitting out two games because of a right knee injury.
In San Antonio, Australian Ben Simmons scored 21 points, Joel Embiid had 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers held the San Antonio Spurs to a season-low point total with a 97-78 victory.
Philadelphia also snapped a 13-game losing streak in San Antonio.