by Charlie O. Mallonee with Jordan Chapin
The Sacramento Kings went into the game in New Orleans on Friday night as eight to 10.5-point underdogs. FiveThirtyEight.com gave the Kings just a 15-percent chance of leaving the “Crescent City” with a win. By the end of 53-minutes of playing time in the Smoothie King Arena, everyone who picked the Pelicans to win were 100-percent wrong.
The Kings needed five extra minutes but they defeated DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans 116-109 to finish their four-game road trip with a record of 2-2. Sacramento won the games in Chicago and New Orleans. They had a realistic chance to win the games they lost in Milwaukee and Cleveland. The Kings played at a higher level on this road trip.
The Kings had to fight and claw their way through the 53-minutes of playing time to stay in this game. There were 12 lead changes and the game was tied 11 times. The Pels biggest lead was 10-points and the Kings largest lead was nine-points. This contest was a “Battle Royale” from start to finish.
Z-Bo was the star of the game for the Kings
The 36-year old veteran center played like a man half his age on Friday night. Randolph was the Kings leading scorer with 35-points and he made it a double-double game by hauling in 13 rebounds. He shot 14-for-22 from the field and hit 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Randolph did all of that while dealing Cousins on defense during his almost 34-minutes of playing time.
- Buddy Hield showed the fans in New Orleans what they lost when he was shipped to SAC for Cousins. Hield posted 18-points and grabbed seven rebounds. He shot 7-for-12 for the game and 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point line. Hield sank the 3-point basket that tied the game and sent it into overtime.
- De’Aaron Fox played over 36-minutes in the game and scored 14-points. He was teamed up with Frank Mason down the stretch and in overtime to help lead the Kings to the victory.
- Frank Mason came off the bench to lead the second-unit again on Friday night. The rookie out of Kansas scored 12-points, grabbed five rebounds and added three assists.
- The Kings other “O.G” – Vince Carter – played a big role for the Kings versus the Pelicans. The 40-year old veteran played 32-plus minutes and scored six-points. He also recorded four rebounds and distributed two assists. Carter also had two dunks ( three if you count the one at the final buzzer that was waved off that could have been the potential game winner).
- Georgios “Papa G” Papagiannis played an important nine-plus minutes off the bench. The big man was almost a surprise contributor in this game. He came in and played “Boogie” tough while scoring six-points and hauling in three rebounds. Papa G was a perfect 3-for-3 shooting in the game.
DeMarcus was the star of the game for New Orleans
There are very few observers of the NBA who do not see DeMarcus Cousins as being the premiere center in the league. On Friday night, Boogie reminded everyone in Sacramento what they lost when he was traded to the Pelicans.
Cousins dropped in a game-high 38-points and made it a double-double game by adding 11-rebounds. The big man also had four assists and three steals.
Cousins shot 14-for-30 from the field (4-for-10 from 3-point land). He converted 6-of-7 opportunities from the charity stripe.
Love him or hate him – Cousins is an awesome talent.
Other Pelicans who contributed
- Anthony “the Brow” Davis returned to action after missing three games. Davis played 30-minutes and scored 18-points. He went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
- Ian Clark scored 15 points in just under 28-minutes of playing time. He shot 6-for-8 from the field.
- Jrue Holiday added 14 points. He shot 50-percent for the game hitting 6-of-12 field goal attempts.
- Rajon Rondo – who has been “hot” for the Pels since returning from injury was held out for rest. That decision may be questioned after this disappointing loss.
Team stats that matter
- SAC shot 48.5-percent (47-for-97) for the game and 43.3-percent (13-for-30) from behind the 3-point line.
- The Kings out-rebounded NOLA 46-35
- Sacramento dished out 21 assists and turned the ball over 20 times (good for 12 Pels points).
- The Kings made 12 steals in the game.
- New Orleans posted a 46.1-field goal percentage (41-for-89). They hit 10-of-28 3-point attempts (35.7-percent).
- The Pelicans converted 17-of-19 free throw attempts.
- The Pels booked 19 assists and committed 17 turnovers (became 22 Kings points).
Update from Reno
Skal Labissiere scored 29-points, grabbed 17 rebounds and added seven blocks in his start for the Big Horns this week. Look for him to be in Sacramento on Sunday.
The Kings will return to action on Sunday versus the very talented Toronto Raptors (16-7). The game has an unusual start time as it will tip-off at 12:30 pm.
New Orleans wraps up a four-game homestand on Sunday when they host the 76ers.