Raptors Hope To Handle Pelicans' Big Duo

New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis DeMarcus Cousins Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans are in territory that they have not seen for a while.

By defeating the Indiana Pacers 117-112 Tuesday night, they are 6-5, the first time they have owned a winning record since the 2014-15 season.

They will try to stay above .500 Thursday night when they play the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors (6-4) are coming off a 119-114 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, a game in which their 23-point, third-quarter lead dwindled to three points in the final minute.

Toronto will have to contend with the Pelicans' two big men -- Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

Davis scored 37 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while Cousins added 32 points and 13 boards in the win over the Pacers. It was the third win in a row by the Pelicans, all on the road.

"I think our talent is different than a lot of bigs," Cousins said. "There's so many ways we can dominate a game. And I think we're just scratching the surface right now. We can get so much better."

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said, "I thought we played well offensively, but Indiana did not throw us a bone. I thought we started the second half really locked in. We had good ball movement, and obviously we feel like we have an advantage every night on the inside with Anthony and DeMarcus."

The Pelicans needed a strong second-half surge to overcome the Pacers' 75-61 halftime lead.

"We have been like this almost all season, but we have to do a better job of playing both halves, both ends of the floor, and that goes for everybody," Davis said. "They scored 75 points in the first half, and we are not that type of team. In the second half, we were able to contain those guys and get some stops."

Cousins added, "We did a better job on defense, and we slowed down their transition. They scored a lot more in the first half by capitalizing on our turnovers. We did a better job of taking care of the ball in the second half, and we didn't have any silly turnovers."

The Raptors had a similar problem in reverse on Tuesday. They dominated the first half and nearly let the game slip away in the second half.

"At the end of the game, you must get the ball to your best scorers and shooters, and it stuck a little bit," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said after the game Tuesday. "We could have moved it better, they blitzed us, and we didn't do a good job of handling the blitz out of the pick-and-roll. Jonas (Valanciunas) and Lucas (Nogueira) had been doing a good job, we put Serge (Ibaka) at the 5, and he didn't do as good of a job.

"Those are the things we must get better at, but again it's a different game in the last two minutes, minute and a half of the game of what you are trying to accomplish, of who to get the ball to and make sure it gets to the right person in the right spot. We didn't handle either end well down the stretch."

The game Tuesday was different from the Raptors' early-season trend. The Sunday loss to the Washington Wizards was more typical of the Raptors' defeats. They had a poor first quarter and then were forced to chase.

"Yes, you are always eager to get back out there to redeem yourself after a loss," said Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who scored 24 points on Tuesday. "For us, it was all about coming out and playing with energy, being aggressive on both ends, and we still must do it for 48 minutes."

New Orleans is 5-2 on the road this season, and Toronto is 3-1 at home.

Copyright © 2017 TTWN Media Networks LLC Photo: Getty Images

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