De’Aaron Fox continued his mastery of the New Orleans Pelicans. The remainder of his group didn’t.
The New Orleans-born Fox dropped 43, elevating his season common towards the Pelicans to 41 factors per recreation for the season, whereas including six assists and incomes 15 journeys to the road. However he missed seven free throws and some pull-up 3-pointers he’d moderately have again down the stretch, and the Kings couldn’t full their comeback, falling to New Orleans 117-110 and dropping the season collection within the course of.
One would hope that the Kings would deliver the trouble from the get-go after dropping six straight and going through one other group in competition for the West play-in. And but, the Kings fully no-showed the primary half, letting the Pelicans get into the paint at will to the tune of 17-of-22 capturing on the rim.
On an strange evening, Sacramento would be capable to counter that with perimeter scoring, however within the absence of Buddy Hield, the Kings offense didn’t have any spacing. It was brutally clear how a lot Hield warps defenses by his capability to get a shot up with an inch of house. The courtroom was so cramped that Richaun Holmes had zero factors within the first half, and went scoreless for the primary time 2018 since he needed to depart at halftime with a hamstring pressure.
The Kings as an entire made one 3-pointer within the first half with out their sharpshooter and that got here with 0.8 seconds left within the second quarter when the group was already down 26 factors, the biggest deficit of the sport.
However issues began to show round within the second half. Sacramento compelled 14 turnovers and held the Pelicans to solely 30 shot makes an attempt within the half. The issue, oddly sufficient towards the Twenty eighth-best protection within the league, was that the Kings couldn’t rating successfully. The group shot beneath beneath 30 % on threes and beneath 60 % on free throws, and the Kings have been additionally outrebounded on the offensive glass.
Nonetheless, New Orleans managed to get inside 12 by the top of the third and trimmed the deficit to 5 within the ultimate minutes after getting Steven Adams out of the sport with intentional fouling. A bonehead flagrant foul even gave the Kings the ball down 4 with 18.4 seconds left, however they couldn’t get any motion going in direction of the basket and needed to accept one other off stability three.
That’s seven losses in a row for Sacramento, and the prospect of the play-in feels more and more unrealistic.