Kings rip Pelicans in third quarter to post victory
The Sacramento Kings are the highest scoring team in the NBA.
The play at a fast pace and move the ball quickly and efficiently.
Most importantly, the Kings have shot-makers.
Monday night, the Kings made shots and lots of them, particularly in the third quarter.
If you want to win on the road, which the New Orleans Pelicans have not learned how to do, you must play hard over the course of four quarters. You must also defend hard for the entire game.
That did not happen Monday.
Sacramento used a huge third quarter to whip New Orleans 123-105.
Over the course of three quarters, the Pelicans outscored the Kings 88-85.
Then, there was the third quarter.
Tied 59-59 at halftime, the Kings blitzed the Pelicans 38-20 in the third quarter and New Orleans could not recover.
With great ball movement, the Kings got many, many open looks and many opportunities at the rim. It was a case of choosing your poison for New Orleans, which simply did not defend well enough to win.
The Kings shot 56.6 percent from the field, shot 16 of 38 (42%) from 3-point range and had 39 assists on 47 made shots.
That offset New Orleans shooting 54 percent from the field.
Of course, 16 turnovers by the Pelicans did not help.
Playing without De’Aaron Fox, the Kings had plenty enough firepower to take care of the Pelicans.
Sharp-shooter Kevin Huerter led the charge with 25 points, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
Brandon Ingram fought his way through frequent double-teams and blitzes to score 24 points.
Everyone is playing New Orleans that way, doing everything to take the ball out of Ingram’s hands.
With so many key players out injured, Ingram needs to get at least 20 shots per game.
He was 9 of 16 against the Kings and had a hard time getting to his spots and getting his shots.
That said, Ingram needs to be a bit more selfish until reinforcements come.
Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 12 rebounds while Trey Murphy added 17 points.
With the loss, New Orleans fell to 31-34 and into a 4-way tie for the ninth spot in the West with the Lakers, Utah and Portland.
New Orleans is now 11-23 on the road.
While only two teams in the Western Conference (Denver, Sacramento) have winning records on the road, the Pelicans need to be more competitive away from home. The 11-23 mark is better than just three other teams in the conference.
The Pelicans, who have been on the road for all but one game since the All-Star break, finally get to play at home.
A four-game homestand begins Wednesday night against Luke Doncic, Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks. Since the 2019-20 season, Dallas has beaten New Orleans 11 of 14 times.
These four games could well determine the fate of the Pelicans this season.
The opponents are Dallas (33-32), Oklahoma City (30-34), Portland (31-34) and the Lakers (31-34).
The Mavericks are two games up on New Orleans, the Thunder are a half game back of the Pelicans and, as mentioned, the Blazers and Lakers are tied with New Orleans.
Perhaps Josh Richardson returns.
Still, there will be no Zion Williamson, Jose Alvarado or Larry Nance Jr.
The struggle continues.
Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…