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Kings 122, Pelicans 117: The Comeback Kings do it again!

Down by 19 in the first and by 11 in the fourth, but the Sacramento Kings still came out on top.

Kimani Okearah

We get an early Christmas present this year with another come-from-behind victory by the Sacramento Kings! Going down by 19 in the first quarter was tough and it was hard to imagine a comeback with a team led by Anthony Davis and the hot hands of Jrue Holiday. However, the Kings proved me and many others wrong and came back for the second game in a row to a win over the New Orleans Pelicans, whom they had lost to earlier in the year.

It was another sluggish start for the Kings to open the first quarter. They started off 4-16 from the field at one point, while the defense was allowing basket after basket down low. The score went up to 32-13 in favor of the Pelicans, but the Kings closed out the quarter with a 12-4 run to make it 36-25 to end the quarter. Anthony Davis had eight points on 1-6 shooting but was 6-6 from the free throw line. Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings with nine points off the bench. We also had a Harry Giles sighting late in the quarter.

Sacramento made things interesting with a run to start the quarter, making the game 48-40. A De’Aaron Fox chasedown block on Tim Frazier made the crowd erupt and things got going for the Kings. However, Jrue Holiday just kept getting basket after basket in the paint with his left-handed layups and the Pelicans answered with an 11-2 run to make it 57-42. Sacramento answered with a 14-4 run towards the end of the half, but Holiday kept coming to lead the way for New Orleans. They would lead Sacramento at the break by a score of 69-58. Holiday led all scorers with 22 and Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 for Sacramento with five rebounds.

The Kings came as close as four points (88-84) but failed to close the quarter out on a high note, resulting in a double-digit deficit to end the third quarter. Holiday wasn’t as active in this quarter, only scoring three points. The Pelicans fed off offensive rebounds and getting points at the line. Hield started heating up for Sacramento, getting three three’s to fall. Cauley-Stein went up to 17 points and eight rebounds. Giles had a furious putback over Anthony Davis for a fun moment. The Pelicans led 96-86 at the end of the quarter.

Reminiscent of the Memphis fourth quarter, the Kings rallied again and were able to come out on top with a ridiculous twelve minutes. Buddy kept doing Buddy things, Bogdanovic gave a huge lift off the bench, Cauley-Stein kept grabbing rebounds and Fox was also doing Fox things. Buddy got the crowd going after a tough three plus a foul, but wasn’t able to make it a four-point play as he surprisingly missed the free throw. The Kings kept playing solid defense and were able to hold off the Pelicans second chances and extended their lead to seven at one point. In the end, Sacramento held onto a win and extend their record to 18-15!

Best Players

Buddy Hield is just incredible. He was 1-6 from three in the first half, then absolutely went off with them in the second half, going 5-5 the rest of the way. He finished with another high scoring game with 28, which led all scorers, on 11-18 shooting to go with six rebounds.

De’Aaron Fox also came up big down the stretch, as he usually does. He finished with 19 points on 5-15 shooting but was 8-11 from the line. His confidence to have a one-on-one drive against Anthony Davis was big as it resulted in two free throws. He also dished out 11 assists and stole the ball twice. Oh yeah, and he sent Tim Frazier’s shot back to Penn State.

Bogdan Bogdanovic gave the Kings some much needed scoring off the bench. He scored 24 points on 7-16 shooting, but was 8-9 from the charity stripe. He dished out seven assists and grabbed four rebounds. I’m much more confident in games with Iman Shumpert starting and Bogdan coming off the bench than I am with Bogdan starting. It’s just guaranteed playmaking off the bench and he still gets his minutes. He played 31 today.

Willie Money Watch

Willie Cauley-Stein was absolutely crucial for Sacramento today. He was tied with Anthony Davis for 17 rebounds(!) and scored 22 points to go with two assists, three steals and one ferocious block. This is the Willie the Kings would love to have.

Notable Stats

Sacramento was 14-31 from three, good for 45%. They were also 24-33 from the free throw line, good for 73%.

Sacramento was out-rebounded 58-50. I thought the Pelicans got way more second chance opportunities off the glass than the Kings did, but both had 12 twelve offensive boards.

Each team had 26 assists.

Sacramento only had nine turnovers.

The Game in One Sentence

The Kings are 18-15 before Christmas, so enjoy it Kings fans!

Next Game

The Kings head to Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday at 7:30 PM PST.