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Kings Fall to Pelicans After Wild Finish

Photo by: Kimani Okearah

Saturday night, 16,808 fans inside the Golden 1 Center were taken on a roller coaster ride of a basketball game between the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans. Eight lead changes, 13 times tied, a shocking four-point play and a JJ Redick game-winner resulted in New Orleans’ 117-115 victory.

After trailing by 14 points in the first quarter, the Kings battled back to a one point lead heading to the second. Later, with an 80-76 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Sacramento allowed a 10-0 Pelicans run, and fell behind by as much as 13 with less than 10 minutes remaining.

All evening, Sacramento struggled taking care of the basketball, turning it over 21 times resulting in 29 points for the Pelicans.

“That game was lost with our 21 turnovers,” said Kings head coach Luke Walton, who claims the team was lacking an overall sense of urgency tonight.

Kings guard Cory Joseph agreed with Walton, saying that the team made a lot of mental mistakes tonight, which has been a common theme this season that the team has to correct.

Backs against the wall, Sacramento rallied to tie the game up at 115 with five seconds remaining, thanks to an improbable four-point play from Nemanja Bjelica.

Redick, who has been a King-killer in the past, hit a big floater to win the game with a second remaining, taking advantage of the Kings’ aggressive perimeter defense to attack the basket.

Walton said he thought Pelicans center Derrick Favors fouled Trevor Ariza with an illegal screen on the play.

While Redick was the hero, Lonzo Ball was magnificent, scoring 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. He was one of six Pelicans to finish with double-figures scoring. The Kings allowed New Orleans to score 41 points in the final 12 minutes.

It was a tough loss for any of the Kings players to take, but De’Aaron Fox appeared to take it the hardest, putting the blame on himself, “I was bad in every aspect of the game and I was out there in crunch time and just didn’t make plays for us,”.

Sacramento also allowed themselves to be out-hustled by New Orleans, who was playing on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pelicans finished with 17 fast-break points, while the Kings only managed nine total fast break attempts on the night, including zero in the fourth quarter.

Coach Walton said the team is always looking to run, but their transition spacing wasn’t good on Saturday night. Buddy Hield, who turned the ball over seven times, says the lake of pace is on the whole team.

“It’s on us man. We have to do it together as a group. It’s tough. We should be playing fast man, it’s our M.O”.

Sacramento is now 13-23 this season, and will host the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.