If only it counted for something.
In a game that was originally thought to be a big one when the NBA released its bubble schedule, Harrison Barnes had 25 points to lead the Sacramento Kings to a useless 112-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
De’Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes sat this one out with injuries, while rookie superstar Zion Williamson also didn’t suit up for this one. Both teams were already eliminated from postseason contention coming into the game, which resulted in a less-than spirited effort at times.
Sacramento’s head coach Luke Walton played three-out-his-five starters 37 minutes each, with Barnes, Cory Joseph, and Bogdan Bogdanovic getting the lion’s share of the work in the backcourt. Kings’ forward Jabari Parker played well, finishing 6-for-6 from the field for 12 points in 14 minutes, joining Bogi, Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica, Harry Giles, and Buddy Hield in double-figures.
“When you see guys get a chance to play, and they play well, as a coach, it feels good,” Walton said. “It was good to see Harry play well, good to see Jabari [Parker] do what he did, and good to see Bogi out there battling.”
The game didn’t have a ton of feel to it. It looked like both squads were counting down the days before they get to exit the bubble in Orlando, Florida, but the Kings were the more engaged team on the defensive end.
“I thought we finally started playing some defense in the second half,” Walton said. “We still have to be smarter how we play, but we showed some intensity on the defensive end in the second half, and I’m happy they came out and competed.”
Sacramento shot well from beyond-the-arc, finishing 11-for-26 from the 3-point line, while also holding New Orleans to just 29.2% from deep. The Kings were sharp at the charity stripe as well, only missing one of their 16 free throw attempts.
It’s all a moot point right now, with Sacramento sitting at 2-5 in the bubble. The Kings’ effort has been subpar in Orlando, and this win will do nothing to change the disappointment of the first six games.