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Kings defense reigns supreme in 112-99 victory over Pelicans

A valiant effort by the whole squad led the Kings back to .500 on the season.

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings Photo via Getty Images

On the second night of a back-to-back, the Sacramento Kings claimed their first victory from Golden 1 Center with a 112-99 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

This was arguably Sacramento’s strongest display of what can happen when offense and defense are firing on all cylinders. It felt strong, cohesive and seasoned after their sputtering slugfest in Dallas. Harrison Barnes led the team in scoring with 23 points, followed by Tyrese Haliburton with 20 points shooting a perfect 7-7 from the stripe, and De’Aaron Fox with 19 points on 8-13 shooting.

The story of tonight’s success came from Sacramento’s ability to share the ball, stay in the paint and defend. Almost every player who saw time tonight chipped in offensively, giving the opportunity for players like Alex Len and Davion Mitchell to get going while the usual offensive juices of Barnes, Hield and Holmes were flowing throughout the whole contest.

Defensively, Haliburton was a treat - garnering four steals and two blocks individually. The Kings collectively gathered 37 rebounds, 7 blocks and 8 steals in the contest.

Richaun Holmes was ejected following two consecutive technical fouls with 9:32 seconds into the third frame, one technical for words with an official and one for throwing his headband into the crowd. This undoubtedly changed the pace of the game, as things continued to get chippy down the stretch between Len and Pel’s big man Jonas Valančiūnas.

All in all, this was a game that quite frankly, the Kings needed to win. Without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the starless Pelicans didn’t pose the same challenge that the association might normally see. Sacramento’s ability to close this game out comfortably was a step in the right direction.

The Kings will continue their home stand on Friday night as they host the Charlotte Hornets, who began their West Coast swing in San Fransisco on Wednesday.