The New Orleans Pelicans came into town to play the Sacramento Kings fighting for their playoff lives, and the Kings were looking to play spoiler. But the Pelicans outlasted the Kings despite a second straight triple-double from DeMarcus Cousins. In a plot line that is all too familiar, the Kings could not guard the three and the Pelicans were able to build a 19 point lead. The Kings fought back multiple times, but were not able to get that final push and overtake the Pelicans in the end, losing 101-95.
The once again short-handed Kings effort was there all night, but the issues that have haunted them all year showed their ugly heads. The Kings could not guard the three, allowing the Pelicans to hit 14 of their 29 attempts, including their first five attempts. The bench scored only 17 points, though the Pelicans only got 19 point from their bench. In a surprising stat, the Pelicans started out dominating the boards, one of the few categories the Kings usually have the edge in. They grabbed 50 boards to the Kings 38. It wasn't all bad, however. The Kings had a 21:9 Assist to Turnover ratio, something that has been much worse recently, and the Kings really dictated a large part of the second half, but the early struggles made it too hard to crawl out of the hole.
There are rumors floating around local radio stations and social media that DeMarcus Cousins should be traded. While I assume the people saying that either don't have televisions, don't have radios, or don't have internet, DeMarcus is once again laughing at those people, putting up darn near superheroic numbers on Comic Con night. He was playing like Batman, Superman, Flash, and the Hulk out there, putting up 24 points, 20 boards, 13 assists, four blocks, and a steal for good measure. He also had a couple of Robins with Omri Casspi and Ben McLemore each putting up 17 points. Omri made some mistakes, but his heart and hustle are greatly appreciated right now. Boogie connected on a couple gorgeous passes to Casspi in transition. Unfortunately, for every Justice League, there most certainly has to be an Aquaman, and Derrick Williams and Carl Landry both were fighting for that role, with each floundering in numerous aspects of the game, they clearly needed to find some water. Sim Bhullar, despite all of the hype, did not see the floor tonight in his first (real) game in a Sacramento Kings uniform.
Like every team of superheroes, there are supervillains trying to destroy them, and the Pelicans were those villains, with Quincy Pondexter (a.k.a. "The Pondexecutioner") being the ridiculously accurate shooter of the night. He dropped five three pointers in the first half on his way to an 18 point game. Hero-turned-villain Tyreke Evans sought revenge on his former teammates (all three of them), and was one assist shy of a triple double himself. While he struggled to find his shot, Anthony Davis still had a solid game putting up 20 points and 10 boards. While Davis won the team battle between these two this year, Boogie definitely won the individual battle between the two best young big men in the game this year.
All in all, despite some of the troubles and mental errors, the Kings put up a good effort against a team fighting for their playoff lives. While many teams in the Kings position are halfway to the Bahamas already, it is good to see the Kings still giving the games all of their effort. The Kings next tip off against the recently surging Utah Jazz Sunday at 6.
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