NEW ORLEANS -- Down to the wire. The Sacramento Kings struggled to match the physicality of the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday evening at Smoothie Kings Center and it cost them.
Playing without Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and plenty of others, the Pelicans attacked the center of the Kings’ defense from the opening tip.
Julius Randle dominated, scoring 34 points to go with 11 rebounds, leading the Pelicans to a 121-118 victory.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings drop back below the .500 mark on the season at 37-38.
Road weary or not, the Sacramento Kings are at their best when they put the pedal to the metal. Against the Pelicans, they turned on the afterburners.
De’Aaron Fox was the ringleader, posting 25 points on 11-for-22 shooting. He added 12 assists, five rebounds, two steals, and a block.
The Kings’ starting point guard hit the gas, helping his club come away with a 27-17 advantage in fastbreak points.
Buddy Hield couldn’t buy a long ball and it cost his team dearly.
The normally reliable shooter hit just 1-of-8 from behind the arc, including a shot that would have tied the game in the final seconds.
The third-year guard dropped 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting, but the misses from 3-point land hurt his team.
Not all good
Willie Cauley-Stein was aggressive as a scorer and rebounder Thursday evening in New Orleans, but that doesn’t tell the entire story.
The 7-footer finished the game with an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double, but the Pelicans’ bigs abused him and every other big on the roster down low.
New Orleans dropped 74 points in the paint against the Kings. They attacked the rim and finished over the top of Cauley-Stein on multiple possessions.