Deja Vu: Fox Torches Pelicans (Again), Kings Steal Win From Pelicans
De’Aaron Fox scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead Sacramento to a gritty win over New Orleans
Back on January 17th, De’Aaron Fox posted a career-high 43 points in a close loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
On Monday night, Fox got his chance at redemption and would not let another memorable night go to waste at the hands of their Western Conference foe.
The Sacramento Kings used a massive fourth quarter from their franchise guard to erase a 10-point deficit and outlast the New Orleans Pelicans, winning by a final of 118-109 at the Smoothie King Center.
New Orleans took a double-digit lead in the closing seconds of the third quarter before a three-pointer by Harrison Barnes cut the deficit to 94-87 entering the final period.
From that point on, it was all De’Aaron Fox.
The 23-year-old scored 17 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth, posting his second-consecutive 30-point performance. New Orleans had no answer for the speedy guard, with Fox cutting into the lane and slicing his way to the rim on multiple occasions in the final minutes to close things out.
New Orleans could not outscore Fox in the fourth quarter, only mustering 15 points versus the star guard’s 17.
Along with his massive scoring outburst, Fox dished 12 assists and grabbed four rebounds over his 40 minutes of action.
Fox is undoubtedly playing like an All-Star this season, with NBC Sports California’s Mark Jones stating pregame that a Western Conference coach disclosed that the young guard deserves to be on the roster.
Over his last three games, Fox is averaging 30.6 points per game on 53-percent shooting while also dishing 7.3 points per game.
Kings forward Marvin Bagley III was ejected for the first time in his career on Monday night after receiving two questionable technical fouls.
Bagley, who picked up a technical foul early in the first half, was whistled for a questionable foul call on Zion Williamson’s field goal attempt with just over 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After showing emotion following the whistle, Bagley was ejected for the first time in his young career on what was a very quick and surprising call by the officiating crew.
“I did not think that Marvin deserved to be tossed,” head coach Luke Walton said postgame. “It hurt us not having him out there. He was doing a lot of great things for us tonight.”
It will be interested to see if the NBA rescinds Bagley’s technical fouls, as more clarity is expected on the situation as the week unfolds.
Bagley scored 10 points on five-of-12 shooting over 22 minutes.
Harrison Barnes kept Sacramento alive during a sluggish third quarter, scoring 17 of his 24 points in the period to limit the damage caused by New Orleans.
Barnes pulled down eight rebounds and dished four assists while knocking down five of his nine three-point attempts in yet another strong showing by the veteran forward.
After a couple of rough showings against the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat, center Richaun Holmes was back to normal on Monday night, scoring 17 points on six-of-seven shooting to go along with 10 points and tying his career-high with six blocked shots.
It was Holmes’ fifth double-double of the season and the third time this season that he has collected six blocks.
Rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton was all over the place for Sacramento, finishing with a career-high 11 rebounds while scoring five points and dishing six assists.
“We want to get the Kings back to the playoffs more than anybody so we’ve just got to stick together and keep competing in these games,” Haliburton said postgame.
The talented rookie has been quiet offensively over the past few games, but has made up for it with his playmaking, defense and rebounding abilities.
Buddy Hield knocked down four of his 15 three-point attempts, finishing with 16 points on four-of-16 from the field overall.
Defense has been a huge problem for the Kings this season, with Luke Walton’s team giving up 119.7 points per game, 29th out of 30 NBA teams. Coming into the final quarter, Sacramento needed stops in order to sneak out of New Orleans with a win.
The defensive intensity would increase, with the Kings holding New Orleans to just 15 points in the final quarter. Putting a stop to the Pelicans’ momentum made up for the fact that the Sacramento offense had turned the ball over 20 times and allowed 11 steals.
Solid offense by the Kings (31 assists) and a strong night from the field (47%) would be enough to come out on top, with Monday’s win becoming the team’s fourth over its past five games.
With the win, Sacramento (9-11) inches closer to the .500 mark as they head home for the first time in two weeks.
Sacramento will return to Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night for a matchup with Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics.
Last season, the Kings and Celtics split their season series over two nail-biting contests that took place over an eight-day period in November of 2019.
Since the 2017-18 season, Sacramento is 1-5 against Boston.
Get all of your pregame coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with pregame coverage starting at 3:00pm PST on The Jason Ross & Doug Christie Show, followed by Game Night at 6:30pm PST before action tips off at 7:00pm PST.