The Kings entered the fourth quarter Monday night tied with the Pelicans at 77. Neither team had defended too well, but behind DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton, the Kings were in the game. Then the fourth happened, and the Kings lost by 13.
This is what went down on both ends, possession by possession.
Tyreke Evans misses a contested three over Marcus Thornton. Rudy Gay tries a bounce pass to DeMarcus Cousins into the post, but Anthony Davis (guarding Gay) easily steals it. 77-77.
Tyreke and Davis miss gimmes in transition, and Gay gets a rebound while sitting down. But the Pelicans take it away from him. 77-77.
Ryan Anderson hits a spot-up three over Derrick Williams. Marcus Thornton misses a spot-up three. 80-77.
Anderson misses a layup off of a nice pass. Jimmer Fredette feeds Williams in the secondary break, and Williams gets fouled going to the rim. He hits both. 80-79.
Brian Roberts hits a long two over Jimmer Fredette off the dribble. Jimmer attacks Roberts and scores on a short bank. 82-81.
Roberts loses Jimmer on a double ball screen and hits an open layup. Michael Malone calls a timeout. Good ball movement leads to an open Jimmer three in the corner. 84-84.
A Roberts-Davis pick and roll goes awry as Cousins defends it well. Turnover Pelicans. Cousins attacks Anderson in the post, but misses a wild shot under the rim. Wants a foul call, doesn't get it. 84-84.
Tyreke drives to the rim with ease and dumps off to a wide open Davis for a jam. Cousins posts Anderson, clears him out with a bump, draws a foul on the helping Darius Miller. Hits one of two, but Williams fights for the rebound and the Kings get it. Cousins immediately reposts Anderson and draws another foul. 87-86 Kings.
Roberts comes off a screen and misses a jumper over Fredette. Cousins posts Alexis Ajinca, tries to shoot over a double, misses. 87-86. Kings.
Tyreke beats Gay to the rim, draws a fifth foul on Cousins, who rotates to help. Cousins exits. Tyreke hits both. Gay isolates on Davis, gets his shot blocked. 88-87 Pelicans.
Roberts misses a spot-up corner three. Jimmer leads the break and feeds Williams for the and-1. Kings 90-88.
Thornton gambles for a steal that, if successful, would have resulted in Thornton dribbling into the scorer's table. Holiday, now wide open, attacks the rim for a layup. Gay passes up an open three fed by Jimmer, ends up missing a contested layup. 90-90.
On a broken play, Tyreke drives on Gay for a floating baby hook. Jimmer drains a 15-footer off of a curl. 92-92.
Thornton loses Holiday (who has the ball) on a screen up high. Holiday hits a wide open pull-up three. The Kings' play gets broken, so Jimmer takes a 30-footer right in front of Malone with the shot clock ticking down. It does not go in. 95-92 Pelicans.
This is where it all fell apart.
Tyreke runs a picture perfect pick and roll with Davis. It's picture perfect primarily because Jason Thompson and Gay glue themselves to Tyreke, leaving Davis totally free. Timeout Kings. Starters back in. Isaiah and Gay hook up for one of ugliest turnovers of the night after the TO. I'm not really sure how to describe except to say they were 25 feet from the basket, four feet from each other, and a lob pass didn't connect. Yeah. 97-92 Pelicans.
Tyreke blows by Gay on a pick (surprise!), but Cousins rotates and forces a missed layup. No one else rotates, and Ajinca flushes the putback. Cousins draws a post foul on Ajincia, who has now fouled out. (That brings Anderson, who also has five fouls, back in.) Cousins hits one of two FTs. 99-93.
Davis misses a baseline jumper as Cousins closes well. But Cousins doesn't recover back to get the rebound, and the other Kings are in horrible rebounding position, so Davis slips in and grabs it, drawing a foul. He hits both. Malone yanks Thompson. Cousins posts up, Holiday doubles down and fouls on the attempt. Cousins hits one of two. 101-94.
Cousins had hit the floor going for a rebound on his miss, so the Pelicans get down the floor quickly as he tries to recover. Tyreke hits a wide open Ryan Anderson in the corner. Unfortunately, Isaiah closing out on him does not prevent the three. Cousins does not enter the frame until the ball has gone through the net. Isaiah attacks the rim and draws a foul on Davis. Isaiah hits the first, misses the second, Cousins misses three tipback attempts. 104-95.
Tyreke beats Gay off the dribble, draws a foul. Hits both. Cousins posts Davis, and is doubled. Looking for an outlet, he travels. 107-95.
Davis misses a face-up jumper over Cousins, but Anderson taps out the rebound. On the second chance, Roberts hits a floater after beating Isaiah off of a screen and as Cousins backpedals to stick with Davis, leaving the ballhandler unmarked. Isaiah drives and kicks to Thornton, who misses a three. Isaiah gets the offensive rebound, passes to Thornton, who drives and is fouled. Hits both. 108-97. 1:45 left.
On a switch, Tyreke drives on Quincy Acy (in for Cousins) but misses the bunny. Isaiah misses a secondary break bunny on the other end. 108-97.
Holiday lazily dribbles near midcourt. Acy sprints over to trap, no one rotates behind him, Holiday hits Davis under the rim, foul. Either Acy decided to trap unilaterally, or no one else knew what the heck was going on. Davis hits both FTs. Malone calls a timeout. Thornton misses a drive-and-kick three from the corner. 110-97.
Tyreke is called for a carry. (Nostalgia!) Cousins misses a layup on a pretty lazy pick and roll. 110-97.
Roberts drive and kick to Al-Farouq Aminu for a wide-open corner three. Isaiah hits a meaningless three at the buzzer. It is the first field goal scored by the Kings in the final 5:30 of the game. 113-100. Game over.
The teams were tied at 92 with about six minutes left. Each team had 11 possessions the rest of the way. The Pelicans scored 21 points in their 11 possessions. The Kings scored eight ... and three of those were on that final three. We're accustomed to ugly defense here in Sacramento. But lord, that was some ugly defense. New Orleans just got consistently easy shots all quarter. Legitimately, Jimmer was the team's best defender in the fourth. Jimmer Fredette. Gay got abused repeatedly, Cousins didn't finish defensive plays, Thompson, Isaiah and Williams left their men open and Thornton was totally Thorntonian. (The wide-open Holiday three off the dribble was the spark that ignited the Pelicans' wildfire.) (I've left McLemore out of it because in his five minutes in the fourth, his guy never took a shot.)
Blake will have some quotes from Malone later this morning. Keep the above in mind when you see how angry Malone was. He had reason to be. That was a pitiful defensive performance in the fourth.