Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the New Orleans Pelicans from Dec. 23, 2018 tonight at 6 pm PT on NBC Sports California.
The NBA is closed for the next few months, but we have been accessing the archives in search of some of the best games from the last few seasons.
In our seventh installment, we go back to last season, when the Kings trailed by 19 early to the New Orleans Pelicans, but bounced back to come away with a big victory.
While we know the final outcome of the game, sometimes the details become murky over time. Here are five things to watch from the Kings’ 122-117 win over the Pelicans.
The Kings had a shocking breakout 2018-19 season, but they struggled with the first quarter in plenty of games early in the season. This game was no exception.
On their home court, the Kings couldn’t find the bottom of the bucket in the first 12 minutes, shooting just 34.6 percent from the field, including a 5-of-18 start from the first team.
The Kings’ poor offense led to a fast beginning for the Pelicans, who led by as many as 19 in the quarter.
Reel em’ in
Sacramento trailed by 11 points at the half and 10 heading toward the fourth quarter. At the 7:37 mark of the fourth, the Pelicans’ Tim Frazier knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead back to 11 points at 105-94, and then the Kings answered.
Between 7:37 and 5:29 in the fourth, a span of two minutes and 18 seconds, the Kings hit the Pelicans with an 11-0 run to tie the game. Sacramento finished on a 28-12 run to finish off New Orleans and come away with the win.
De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored nine points each in the fourth and Buddy Hield chipped in eight as the Kings shot as the Kings outscored the visiting team 36-21 in the final 12 minutes.
The starting backcourt of Fox and Hield was spectacular in this game.
Hield led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and 6-of-11 from 3-point range. He chipped in six rebounds in his 37 minutes of action and was the driving force behind the team’s second-half comeback.
Fox didn’t break the 20 point barrier, but he posted a 19-point, 11-assist double-double in the win and he added an incredible chase-down block. When these two pushed the tempo, the Pelicans struggled to keep up.
Bogi off the bench
In addition to the big numbers from the starters, Bogdanovic brought firepower in the backcourt off the bench for coach Dave Joerger’s squad.
With the starters struggling in the first quarter, Bogdanovic saved the day with a nine-point quarter to get the Kings’ offense going. He finished strong as well for a total of 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
It’s hard to beat a team when their three primary guards combine for 71 points.
Willie Cauley-Stein came to play in this one. The Kings’ starting center at the time posted one of his better outings of the season, finishing with 22 points, 17 rebounds, three steals and a block.
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In his four seasons with the Kings, Cauley-Stein struggled with major bouts of inconsistency. He put up one of his best rebounding performances in this game, including nine in the fourth quarter while Sacramento made their comeback.