Another day, another inconsistent effort by the Sacramento Kings (26-49). The home team couldn’t take advantage of another career night from DeMarcus Cousins as they fell to the New Orleans Pelicans (41-34) by the final score of 101-95.
“It’s hard to take momentum away from a team that’s knocking down shots, but I thought we did,” George Karl told the media after the game. “We made it a game that we could’ve and should’ve won. It was a disappointing loss.”
The Kings were outplayed inside and out in the first half. Sacramento was outrebounded 27-13, including 10 offensive boards to one. They also allowed New Orleans to hit 8-of-14 3-pointers en route to a 56-42 halftime deficit.
Sacramento clamped down in the third quarter, holding New Orleans to 30 percent shooting from the floor. A 16-0 Kings run closed the gap to three entering the fourth, but their offense stumbled in the final period shooting 33 percent. Missing 10 free throws in the game doomed the Kings as well.
“It’s hard to make stops when they’re shooting free throws and we’re not getting any of those free throws,” Karl noted. “There was lopsidedness on the free throw line and that probably cost us the game.”
Cousins notched his second straight triple-double with 24 points, 20 rebounds and a career-high 13 assists.
“Just trying to get my teammates involved,” Cousins told the media in regards to his assists. “Teams are playing me so many weird ways whenever I catch the ball, so I try not to force anything in the game.”
Ben McLemore fouled out but scored seven of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Ray McCallum and Omri Casspi chipped in 17 and 14 points respectively. Derrick Williams added 10 points off the bench.
For the Pelicans, Quincy Pondexter nailed a career-high six 3’s for a total of 18 points. In his fourth return to Sacramento since leaving the team, Tyreke Evans notched 19 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Anthony Davis had 20 points and 10 boards and Eric Gordon scored 19 points.
With the loss, the Kings move to 8-15 in the Karl era. They’ll host the Utah Jazz (34-41) on Sunday.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins is liking this whole triple-double idea. For the second straight game, the Kings All-Star center posted incredible numbers, finishing with 24 points, 20 rebounds, 12 assists and four blocks in the six-point loss. Cousins under George Karl for 82 games is going to be scary.
- Ben McLemore came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of his 17 points in the game’s final frame. McLemore ran the floor with purpose and attacked the rim every chance he got.
- Omri Casspi came out with a purpose tonight. Getting the nod at the small forward spot in place of the injured Rudy Gay, Casspi finished the night with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting in 37 minutes of action. Casspi has earned another contract in Sacramento.
- Ray McCallum took on the task of slowing Tyreke Evans and held his own. McCallum scored 14 points, including 2-for-3 shooting from long range. McCallum registered just three assists in 35 minutes of action, but he was active and once again earned his minutes.
- Derrick Williams was a no-show early on, but he brought energy to the game late. The 23-year-old forward is playing for his NBA life and it’s games like this that are both encouraging and baffling. Williams scored 10 points off the bench on 3-of-7 shooting, but grabbed just a single rebound in 26 minutes.
- Stat of the Night: The Pelicans pulled a page from every other Kings opponent’s play book tonight. New Orleans hit on 14-of-29 3-point attempts, including 6-of-9 from Quincy Pondexter.
Quote of the Game
DeMarcus Cousins on the Kings’ hunger
“Man, I’ve never questioned this team’s fight. That’s something I think everybody in this locker room does. We fight, we can win. We don’t always play the right way but we do fight.”