It’s always a high-anticipated matchup when Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins take the floor and tonight lived up to the hype. Despite Cousins scoring 40 points and 16 rebounds, the Kings lost its third game of the season to the New Orleans Pelicans 115-112.
Davis came up huge for the Pelicans when they needed him the most, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter to solidify the victory. Davis finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
“No matter what the score is or what the situation is — playoffs or no playoffs — we’re going to keep playing,” Davis told the Associated Press, who scored 23 points in the second half.
Rajon Rondo continued his great play on this four game road trip capping it off with 18 points and 10 assists while knocking down three treys.
Sacramento was up by 17 points in the third quarter before giving up a 20-9 run by the Pelicans, which carried them into the fourth down six.
“Playing defense, taking smart shots, good shots, sharing the ball — that’s what got us into the lead and that’s what we got way from,” Cousins told the Associated Press.
New Orleans would extend its run into the fourth tying the game up at 89. Head Coach George Karl called a timeout to stop the run and the Kings came back firing, scoring eight straight and forcing the Pelicans to call a timeout.
Despite Sacramento going up 97-89, Dante Cunningham hit a 3-pointer to cap off an 11-2 run for New Orleans, which gave them a one-point lead. Sacramento would not regain the lead for the remainder of the game. It’s also important to note that the Kings committed 24 turnovers. That simply will not get the job done.
“It’s been killing us all year,” Cousins told the Associated Press about all the turnovers. “It’s going to continue to be a problem if we don’t fix it.”
Sacramento ended its four game road trip (1-3) with its only win coming against Dallas.
Cousins had a remarkable road trip averaging 27.8 points and 13.5 rebounds. Rondo played a significant part in Cousins’ success by averaging 11.8 assists during the trip.
The European duo in Marco Belinelli and Omri Casspi were in full effect contributing greatly on the offensive end during the road trip while Ben McLemore could not seem to find the touch.
Being only six games out of a playoff berth doesn’t seem too far-fetched if the Kings have one more run left inside them. 12 of Sacramento’s last 20 games are against sub .500 teams, which makes a late playoff run plausible but not guaranteed. (Especially if they continue to have meltdowns like tonight)
Sacramento returns home for a three game home stretch, starting Wednesday where they will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Kings were destroyed in its first meeting in Cleveland 120-100. If playoff hopes are still on the mind of Kings players, they will have to defend their home court for the remainder of the season considering there are only 11 more games on home turf.