It already has happened too many times this season: An NBA star falls to the floor and stays there.

As the fourth quarter started, the New Orleans Pelicans had an 84-80 lead. But that was before Anthony Davis, who had been leading the way with 19 points, fell as he was struggling back-to-back with Derrick Favors for position.

It was one of those terrible moments — no one’s fault, and every team’s nightmare. And it completely changed the game, leaving Donovan Mitchell open to his 41-point heroics as the Jazz went on to win 114-108.

Postgame in the locker room, New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t brooding over the defeat. He was struggling with watching a teammate being carried off the floor and immediately moved into a wheelchair.

“You know, it sucks,” he said. And he didn’t need to say much more.

Davis’ absence immediately changed the context of the game. The Pelicans, who had spent most of the night with a lead, allowed a 10-0 Jazz run and missed six straight shots in the process.

That was a bit of an emotional hangover, and the Pelicans fought back. They went on their own 12-0 run to take a 96-90 lead with 5:09.

But it was at that point that the Jazz attacked a fundamental weakness left behind by Davis, one of the most feared shot-blockers in the league (1.8 bpg). Before Davis went out, Mitchell had made only 1 of 6 of his shots inside the arc. With Cousins having to protect the rim, Utah attacked him in the pick-and-roll, helping the rookie roll for 14 points in the last five minutes of the game.

“With Anthony Davis out, if Demarcus is on the pick and roll, it’s tough because they don’t have as much rim protection,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “Anytime you’re making shots like he was, people have to come up, and Donovan was able to get to the rim. The combination of his shooting and his ability to attack, obviously he had a big night.”

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said after the game Davis has a strained left groin and will undergo and MRI on Saturday.

A four-time All-Star in his sixth season, Davis has never played a full slate of 82 games, thanks much in part to injury. That doesn’t make the latest one any less fresh.

“We’re all athletes in this game, and one thing I think we can agree on is we all hate injuries,” Cousins said. “I don’t think anybody wants to see anybody go down. It can kind of mess with you mentally. You just have to kind of block that out.”