January 30, 2018, 10:25 pm
The Kings topped off a six-game road trip with a 114-103 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans. Sacramento finished their season-long road trip with a 3-3 record, an impressive feat that the kids can be proud of.
It was a closely contested first quarter with both teams sharing the lead throughout. De’Aaron Fox picked up where he left off after his career-high 26 points against the Spurs, dropping nine points on 4-of-6 shooting in the quarter. Fox showed off his hops yet again tonight, with another dazzling put back slam.
De'Aaron does it again!!! 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/i5CiRqVnKh
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) January 31, 2018
Turnovers were the story of the first quarter with each team giving the ball away four times a piece. The difference? Sacramento only had two points off those four turnovers, compared to New Orleans who had seven points off the Kings’ turnovers. The Pelicans had a 29-25 lead after 12 minutes.
Moving into the second quarter and both teams were relying on offense to give them an advantage. There was little resistance on both ends leading to a closely contested first half. The Kings were getting up more shots than the Pelicans but New Orleans were making theirs at a higher rate.
The Pelicans were shooting 61.0 percent compared to 47.1 percent for the Kings through 24 minutes. And while both teams had hit six 3-pointers each, the Pelicans were shooting at a 60.0 percent clip from outside (6-of-10) with Sacramento sitting at 37.5 percent (6-of-16).
Eight offensive rebounds and nine first half turnovers (15-0 advantage in second chance points) were a couple of reasons why the Kings had more opportunities to score the basketball, however, they still trailed 62-61 heading into the third quarter.
The Kings came out strong in the opening moments of the second half, going on a 6-0 run leading to a Pelicans timeout. Bogdan Bogdanovic finally got it going, knocking down his first two shots of the game during that stretch. Minutes later a Bogdanovic 3-pointer gave the Kings their largest lead of the game, 81-70 midway through the third.
Sacramento had a chance to take a commanding lead into the final quarter but they let their foot off the gas in the final two minutes of the third. They had a five-point lead after three quarters, nonetheless.
Fox continued to do his thing during the third quarter and was a big reason why the Kings were able to go up by a game-high 11 points at one stage, however, when Elston Turner took him out with a few minutes left in the quarter, the offense and defensive intensity disappeared.
The lineup of George Hill, Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple, Vince Carter, and Georgios Papagiannis wasn’t effective tonight. They were giving up a ton of open looks on the perimeter and weren’t showing much resistance to the Pelicans’ bench unit. It looked like a lineup that hasn’t spent much time together this season, and that’s because they haven’t. They lacked cohesion on offense too, and it stalled the Kings’ momentum multiple times throughout the game.
Fox’s inclusion back into the game midway through the fourth quarter helped steady the ship and give the Kings a little more breathing room. Another thing that became clear: DeMarcus Cousins’ absence was taking a toll on the Pelicans down the stretch as Zach Randolph went to work down low and couldn’t be stopped. It was Randolph’s best game in a while and it came at just the right time for Sacramento.
The Kings managed to turn up the energy down the stretch and it was enough to give them the victory. The win was more so impressive because it was the last game in their six-game road trip, but it certainly didn’t look that way.
- Georgios Papagiannis played 11 minutes off the bench tonight, posting two points, two rebounds, four assists and one block. The four assists tied a career-high which is a nice little achievement, however, Papagiannis still looks incredibly raw when he’s on the court and most of the time it’s proving detrimental to the team. He’ll get spot minutes from time-to-time but he’s a long way off a consistent role in the rotation.
- Sacramento’s starting frontcourt went to work tonight. Zach Randolph tallied 26 points and 12 rebounds while Kosta Koufos dropped 17 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. With youngsters Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein on the sidelines, the veterans stepped up to the plate and worked their magic – they were instrumental in the victory.
- De’Aaron Fox recorded a tidy stat line and was a difference maker on the court. He managed a 16-6-4-1 line in 27 minutes of work and continues to look better and better each time he takes the court.
- The Kings had a 49-to-36 advantage on the glass, and a 14-to-2 advantage in offensive boards. This was a major contributing factor to the victory and they held the Pelicans to zero second chance points – a very impressive feat.
With their six-game road trip in the rear view mirror, the Kings will head home for a date with the Golden State Warriors. Sacramento had one of their most impressive victories this season against the Warriors in Oakland back on November 27, taking down the defending champs 110-106 behind Willie Cauley-Stein’s 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Warriors will come in motivated after getting beaten on their home floor earlier in the season so the Kings will have to try and match that energy, especially on the defensive end. Limiting the amount of 3-point opportunities is one way to nullify the Warriors’ dominance.
Nonetheless, the team will be happy to be back home in the friendly confines of Golden 1 Center on Friday night.