By George Devine, Sr.
Once more the Kings came out ahead in a low-scoring game, beating the Pelicans at New Orleans, 102-97. Sacramento had come into the fray at 26-48 and the home team was a clearly superior 32-42 record. Moreover, the Kings had lost three in a row, and the Pelicans had lost two after winning five. But a carefully executed defensive game by Sacramento and a lackluster offense by New Orleans made the difference.
Sacramento led in the first, third and fourth quarters, but New Orleans had the advantage in the second, leading 55-53 at the half. In the final frame, the ability of Rudy Gay to score three-pointers was just a little better than that of Anthony Morrow, and Sacramento took that period 22-21. For the most part, it was an inside game, however.
The most complete player of the evening was DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 35 points in 37:26, averaging almost a point a minute. He also had 14 rebounds, 11 of which were on defense. Ray McCallum and Rudy Gay each scored 22 for Sacramento. Although that kind of scoring is typical for Gay, it was a banner night for McCallum, who started because of a right thigh injury to Isaiah Thomas. Gay had 5 boards and 5 assists; McCallum contributed 10 valuable assists. Ben McLemore had 14 points and 5 rebounds. Reggie Evans chipped in with a dozen boards but was ejected from the game after his elbow collided with Anthony Davis when the latter went up for an inside shot.
For the Pelicans, Anthony Morrow, whose three-point efforts towards the end were unsuccessful, led the charge. He had 23 points on the night, but only 3 rebounds, all defensive. Anthony Davis, returning from a left ankle injury, was not far behind with 22 points and had 8 boards, all but two on defense. Tyreke Evans contributed 15 points and 4 assists.