I was in the Saints locker room in Minnesota two weeks ago.
I was in the Pelicans locker room Friday night in the Smoothie King Center.
I'm not sure which one was more somber.
The Saints lost that day. The Pelicans won (on the scoreboard), and then lost.
Jrue Holiday described Friday's 115-113 victory over the Houston Rockets as "bitter sweet."
But this one was way more bitter than sweet.
It happened in an instant.
Yeah, beating the second best team in the Western Conference was sweet for a team that seems to be turning the corner.
But then there was the bitterness of seeing DeMarcus Cousins on the floor with his hands over his face in the final seconds of the game, and what turned out to be the final seconds of his season.
Cousins had to be helped off the court.
He didn't put any weight on his left leg as Omer Asik and Cheick Diallo helped carry him off the court to the locker room.
You knew it probably wasn't good.
And it wasn't.
ESPN reported shortly afterwards that it was a torn Achilles and Cousins' season was over.
It was a gut punch as heartbreaking as the one this city endured two weeks ago when Minnesota Vikings' receiver Stefon Diggs dashed down the sidelines to end the Saints' playoff run.
There were 10 seconds on the clock when that play started in Minneapolis.
There were just 8.1 seconds left Friday night.
So close for the Saints.
Oh so close for the Pelicans.
The New Orleans Pelicans came away with a big, 115-113 win over the Houston Rockets Friday at home, but a season-ending injury to star center …
The team was starting to find its groove, having won seven of its last eight games and sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference standings and just a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder for the fifth spot.
Cousins was a big reason for that resurgence.
A little less than three weeks away from the one-year anniversary of the trade that brought Boogie to New Orleans, these were the best days of Boogie's basketball life.
The change of scenery from Sacramento to New Orleans proved to be just what he needed. And it proved to be just what the Pelicans needed.
It revived him. And as of late, it seemed to have revived the Pelicans.
He was just a week removed from being named a starter in the NBA All-Star Game for the first time.
And he was just four nights removed from posting a stat line (44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists) that had his name in the conversation with guys named Kareem, Wilt and Oscar.
He was doing big things off the court too.
He was putting up some of the best numbers of his career and getting a chance to do it just two hours from his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
He was doing his part off the court too.
Boogie's second annual Comedy Slam is scheduled for Saturday night at the Saenger Theater, with all the proceeds going to local charities and non-profit organizations.
But the thing he seemed most fired up about was that he looked to finally be heading to the postseason for the first time in his eight-year career.
His chance to play in the playoffs this season are gone.
And the Pelicans' chances of playing in the postseason may be gone too.
Anthony Davis, who has spent most of his career doing most of the heavy lifting for the franchise, will now have to bear most of the weight on his shoulders again.
The Pelicans aren't throwing in the towel on the season just yet. They said all the right things afterwards.
"Next man up," said Davis.
"We just gotta keep pushing on," said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry.
But it won't be easy to replace a guy who was averaging 25.4 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists and who just four days earlier was getting "MVP" chants in the Smoothie King Center for his monster triple double against the Chicago Bulls.
He recorded another triple double Friday night.
15 points. 13 rebounds. 11 assists.
His 13th rebound was one of his biggest ones of the season. With 15 seconds left, he grabbed a rebound and scored on a putback that gave the Pels a 4-point lead with 15 seconds left. He was also fouled on the play, the biggest play in the biggest home win of the season.
Until an even bigger play a few seconds later.
Cousins missed his free throw attempt, then raced to try to get the rebound.
That's when it happened. That's when this victory all of sudden became a huge, unexpected loss.
"The main thing for us is to keep him in our prayers and continue to support him and let him know we are there for him," said guard Jameer Nelson. "We still have to play, we still have a job to do. As much as we can, we have to move forward and try to figure some things out. I'm sure guys are ready for the challenge."
It will indeed be a challenge.
But nobody was ready for it.
Nobody saw this one coming.