The Associated Press NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Solomon Hill hadn’t been on the court for two minutes when he received a pass from Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday on the perimeter and decisively drained a 3-pointer.
There were five more long-range baskets to come from Hill, who scored a career-high 30 points to help the New Orleans Pelicans overcome the absence of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins in a 128-112 upset over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
Hill was averaging just 6.5 points per game coming in, spending most of this season focused on defense. Against Houston, he helped the Pelicans beat the Rockets at their own, up-tempo game.
“When you get that shot, you’ve got to take it,” Hill said. “That’s what I’m just getting comfortable with, just my teammates finding me and making the most of the opportunity.”
Hill made six of his eight field goals from beyond the 3-point line and drew fouls by attacking the hoop, hitting 8 of 9 free throws.
“He looked great,” Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis said. “He was talking and being aggressive — a guy who’s just been doing what the team asks of him, what the coach asks of him, and to go out there and have a night like this was huge for him, huge for us.”
Davis had 24 points and 15 rebounds and Jrue Holiday added 19 points for New Orleans, which has won three of four.
James Harden had 41 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but that was not enough to prevent Houston’s first loss in four games. He was the only Houston starter to reach 10 points. Lou Williams added 14 points and Montrezl Harrell 13 in reserve roles.
“James had a phenomenal game, but we were lethargic starting and they got every ball, every rebound, and every fast break and we never broke out of that,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We have to write that one off and get to the next one.”
Cousins was sidelined by left knee and rib soreness. New Orleans is now 2-0 without him and 3-7 when he’s played since trading for him Feb. 19.