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Pelicans 117, Kings 110: Late comeback falls short

Sacramento cut a 26 point deficit to just 4 points but it proved too little, too late.

Sacramento dropped their 7th straight game on Monday, losing 110 to 117 to the New Orleans Pelicans.  De'Aaron Fox had his second 43 point game of the season against the Pelicans but it wasn't enough to overcome a huge early deficit.  Brandon Ingram (34 points) and Zion Williamson (30 points) led the way for New Orleans.

Despite the Kings being the team with a day off and the Pelicans being on the second night of a back to back, it was New Orleans who came out with more energy.  The Pelicans got out to a 31 to 19 lead after the first quarter and extended that lead to 26 points by the end of the second quarter before eventually going into halftime up 68 to 45.

Sacramento came out with a lot more energy on both sides of the ball in the second half, with newly signed Damian Jones getting his first in-game action for the Kings.  Jones started the third quarter in Richaun Holmes place as Holmes left the game with a sore hamstring.  It remains to be seen if Holmes will miss additional time.

The third quarter was Sacramento's best defensive quarter, and Jones played a big part in that, providing excellent size, lateral movement and rim protection.  De'Aaron Fox came out of halftime with purpose and scored 15 of his 43 points in the quarter.  By the end of the third period, Sacramento had cut New Orleans' lead to just 12 points.

The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair most of the way, with Sacramento unable to get within more than 8-12 points and New Orleans unable to put the game away.  Finally, with 2:28 left in the game, De'Aaron Fox hit a floater to cut the lead to just 5 points, and New Orleans missed on the other end of the floor.  Fox quickly pulled up for three on the other.  Brandon Ingram had consecutive scoring possessions for the Pelicans on the other end to put the lead back to 9 points and seemingly too far away for Sacramento, but the Kings weren't done fighting just yet, and a Fox three pointer with 28.4 seconds left cut the lead to just 5 points.

Sacramento intentionally fouled Eric Bledsoe on the inbounds but Bledsoe made both free throws, putting the Pelicans up by 7 with 24.3 seconds left, the game seemingly out of reach... until Harrison Barnes was fouled on a deep three attempt on the other side of the court a few seconds later.  Not only was he fouled, but the officials judged that Naji Marshall committed a flagrant foul by stepping under Barnes as he shot, giving Sacramento three shots and the ball.  Barnes sank all three free throws, but Fox just missed his three point attempt on the ensuing possession, and that was pretty much the ball game.

Aside from the early deficit, the biggest problem areas for Sacramento were their outside shooting, free throws and rebounding.  Sacramento was without Buddy Hield for the first time since 2017, and they dearly missed his shooting, especially in the first half when they went 0-14 from distance before De'Aaron made a three to end the half.  The Kings also went just 22 of 37 from the line, an abysmal percentage for that many attempts.  Fox himself shot just 8 for 15 and of all the Kings who shot a free throw, only Harrison Barnes didn't miss at least one.

New Orleans is also a big, physical team, and they showed it on the glass, outrebounding Sacramento 61 to 52.  Steven Adams had 16 by himself, including 5 offensive boards.

The one area where the Kings really excelled tonight was in turnover differential.  Sacramento had just 10 turnovers to 21 New Orleans, and 27 points off those turnovers (to just 11 for the Pelicans).  Newcomer Delon Wright shows a penchant for stealing the ball, totaling 4 steals for the game.

The Kings will look to end their skid on Wednesday when they return home to face the Washington Wizards.

Random Observations

  • As I mentioned earlier, Jones played very well in his first stint with the Kings.  His stats don't jump off the page (2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 18 and a half minutes) but he had a team-high +10 and helped provide an answer to New Orleans' physicality. I'd much rather seen Jones and Metu play than Whiteside for the rest of this season.  Speaking of Whiteside, he was a -7 in three minutes with nothing but a foul to his name.
  • Maurice Harkless had perhaps his best game as a King although he couldn't buy a bucket from outside (0-5 from downtown).  Harkless finished with 15 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals while playing aggressive on both ends of the floor.
  • The Kings love taking quick threes late in the game early on in the shot clock despite not needing to.  Work the offense a little bit, get in the paint and just score.  If a three is there, sure, take it.  But too often we see Sacramento rush an attempt isntead.
  • Terence Davis thinks far too highly of his isolation offense.
  • Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are like if a Center and Shooting Guard kept their heights but traded weights.
  • I hereby propose to NBC Sports California that no mention of the "play-in" game be made on the broadcast anymore.

 

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ScottyPop
April 12, 2021 9:23 pm

Tanks on a Train

ScottyPop
April 12, 2021 9:23 pm
Reply to  ScottyPop

All aboard!

Jman1949
April 12, 2021 9:47 pm
Reply to  ScottyPop

comment image&ct=g

mdeedublu
April 12, 2021 9:37 pm

At this point, I would prefer the Kings focus on letting the tank roll and getting the best possible draft position. I was on board with the play-in run but that not only seems just out of reach or barely still within reach but if they do make it, it’s one and done. Let’s look forward to next year, the draft and how the heck we’re keeping Holmes.

BeTheBall
April 12, 2021 9:46 pm
Reply to  mdeedublu

They’re definitely focusing on tanking.

As for Holmes, he’s a great guy, but we might be better off spending that money on somebody who plays a bit of D.

Gregoryl
April 12, 2021 11:29 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

I totally disagree that they are focused on tanking. I think Luke and those players are doing whatever they can to win. Unfortunately, most of them suck.

Otis
April 13, 2021 5:31 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Yep, tanking implies some intention to lose. This is just who they are.

King4life
April 13, 2021 6:22 am
Reply to  Otis

Tanking requires strategy and planning. What we’ve seen over the last 14 years is just organizational incompetence.

BeTheBall
April 13, 2021 9:57 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

I don’t know, most nights it ooks like lazy, low-effort basketball. Not a whole lot of ‘try’ from most of the team.

eddie41
April 12, 2021 9:38 pm

Thanks for the write up. I could only bear to watch the first 7 or 8 minutes. And they don’t even have an excuse. Didn’t go partying last night. Maybe they should have. Loosen up a bit. Instead, they just went on Facebook and Twitter and maybe some video games and … oh wait a second … was there a basketball tonight?

RORDOG
April 12, 2021 9:38 pm

Second half was fun.

BeTheBall
April 12, 2021 9:44 pm

Legit shot at the #5 pick. Could even make a run at #4. Plenty of shit basketball left to play!

kingsforaday
April 13, 2021 6:55 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

I’m all for it, but I don’t see it. OKC, Orlando, and Cleveland are all playing awful as well. I’d guess we end up in the 7-10 range.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
April 13, 2021 7:16 am
Reply to  kingsforaday

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JoeEnzyme
April 12, 2021 9:55 pm

Getting harder to watch them. I agree that they need a coach that knows how to prepare a team for a game, on both ends. Yet I also agree that the players need to show some pride. When’s the players only meeting?

eddie41
April 12, 2021 10:02 pm
Reply to  JoeEnzyme

New coach, yes please.

BeTheBall
April 12, 2021 10:15 pm
Reply to  eddie41

Let Luke coach us into a top 5 pick, first. No need to start winning now.

ajon_es
April 12, 2021 10:24 pm

Apr 14th, May 4th, May 9th and May 11th are the most important games of the season at this point. 3 matches against OKC + one against WAS. A real shot there to leap frog 2 teams in the race to to the bottom. I think we can probably catch TOR based on remaining schedule too.

Best case scenario.. 6th best odds.
Top 4 chance: 34.8% Top 1 chance: 8.3%

Top 5+ chance: 66.2%

Rudy Gay was wrong – this isn’t basketball Hell, this is basketball Purgatory…

Kosta
April 12, 2021 10:25 pm

We had a Brief chance against the Pelicans.
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Kosta
April 12, 2021 10:28 pm

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SelecaoKOJ
April 12, 2021 10:29 pm

Now, I am starting to see Westbrook’s influence on Fox. Neither can be a Number One option. But. both will put up big numbers. Eventhough, Westbrook was more diverse in his prime. A triple double machine. Wednesday, should be interesting. I understand Wash is gunning ro the play in. Only 2 games out.

Otis
April 13, 2021 5:32 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Westbrook played defense.

RORDOG
April 13, 2021 9:02 am
Reply to  Otis

Did he though? I’m not going to pretend like I was analyzing Westbrook’s defensive impact back in the day, but the on/off stats, DBPM and DRPM were all pretty bad.

andy_sims
April 12, 2021 10:35 pm

In the second quarter, I literally said out loud to no one, “Why am I watching this?”But of course, I watched the rest of the game out of reflex.

At least the second half was fun to watch. And I agree with you, DJones showed excellent quickness on defense, and looks to have pretty good instincts. Adams was far less productive when Jones was in, and it was refreshing to see the Kings with a mobile, effective legit center to slow down the Pelicans parade to the hoop. No idea if the young man can shoot at all, but the defense was nice to watch.

RikSmits
April 12, 2021 11:58 pm

I almost miss the times that we could not comment.

Because really, what is there left to say about this team?

02kingsfan
April 13, 2021 12:39 am

Is there a reason why Walton can’t or won’t play Woodward? The only one I can think of is the fact is he’s too good to help us tank.

April 13, 2021 6:21 am

another loss. i am pleased. We do not need any reason to keep Walton at the close of this season

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
April 13, 2021 7:20 am
Reply to  dhackett

Maybe firing Walton would actually improve the team so McNair has decided to ride this one out.
comment image

Kosta
April 13, 2021 9:08 am
Reply to  Adamsite

“…Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Tank.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
April 13, 2021 9:17 am
Reply to  Adamsite

that’s true, no reason to rock the (tank) boat. I wouldn’t put it past Mcnair either, he’s shrewd enough

aplumley
April 13, 2021 7:29 am

Solid second half undone by terrible free throw shooting. I loved Jones’ defense and energy. He might stick.

This team is about what I thought at the beginning of the season. A young, inconsistent group that is incredibly frustrating because of how good and how bad they can play. They showed both of their alter egos within the span of this game. I’m pretty optimistic about the future though. They are a piece and some experience away from being pretty decent.

AllHailBurton
April 13, 2021 7:30 am

Test

AllHailBurton
April 13, 2021 7:30 am

I can see my post. Cant see anybody else’s post.

TKHStaff
April 13, 2021 7:37 am

Test

Marty
April 13, 2021 7:38 am

wrong thread

Last edited 1 month ago by Marty Marty
Marty
April 13, 2021 7:40 am

Second fail

Last edited 1 month ago by Marty Marty
Marty
April 13, 2021 7:41 am

third fail

comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by Marty Marty
Jman1949
April 13, 2021 7:42 am

Testing Tuesday morning comment thread

Jman1949
April 13, 2021 7:45 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Based on the comment count now showing (34), I think these comments will jump to the Recap thread for the Pelicans game once I refresh the page.

Jman1949
April 13, 2021 7:48 am
Reply to  Jman1949

And here we are with my previous comments originally posted in the Tuesday test thread showing up in the Recap thread as predicted.

Jman1949
April 13, 2021 7:52 am
Reply to  Jman1949

comment image&ct=g

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
April 13, 2021 8:57 am

The moves at the trade deadline which I opposed now look even worse. Not only did they not help us this year but they weakened us next year. We lost some second round picks and some vital cap space and for what. That is why I went on record strongly opposing the moves. Also where are all the people now who said we are better without Bagley. I’m not saying Bagley was knocking it out of the park but his departure cost us some much needed depth. The generalizations made on this site after a small sample set of games are maddening to say the least.

Lastly when a team is losing, the tendency is to dream up a bunch of reasons that simply are false reaches. The latest one being there’s no accountability and the players like Walton because he’s like a substitute teacher. We are losing for one reason mainly and that is because the roster is not good. I again pose the question to name 5 rosters inferior to the Kings. There’s a reason the Kings were projected to win 28 games coming into the season. Again, look no further than the roster when you’re looking for reasons the Kings are not winning and dismiss all the other BS.

Otis
April 13, 2021 9:04 am

I love this idea that there can’t be multiple reasons a team is mediocre. And the fact that a similar roster of players was 20th in team defense under Joerger, 20th last season under Walton and now dead last in Walton’s second year tells me that we quite likely have some coaching issues.

I mean, is this roster significantly worse than the 39 team from two seasons ago? Not in my opinion.

AmateurNerd
April 13, 2021 9:38 am
Reply to  Otis

The roster is almost certainly better than that of the 39-win team… on paper. But actual winning requires competent preparation and in-game management, which this team has lacked for, oh, just under 2 seasons now.

Want-to-be-gm
April 13, 2021 1:36 pm
Reply to  Otis

She has been right on in her assessments despite all the dopey thumbs down. Can you name 5 rosters worse than the Kings was her question. I can name 3 and that’s stretching it. How long are you going to keep going back to the 39 win season. I would imagine that if the league thought Joerger did such a great job he would have been offered another position by now. You seem to recall they gave him Barnes when they were 500 and the team folded down the stretch. Although Haliburton has a bright future ahead of him, he is far from a finished product and this roster is just not good. I’m not adverse to a coaching change, but if you thing that alone will have a significant change, I think that’s been proven otherwise 9 other times despite how much you cling to that 39 win season.

Carl
April 13, 2021 9:17 am

It could be bad coaching and a bad roster. It could be that Bagley was bad and the team doesn’t have a lot of talent and is playing poorly now.

The generalizations made on this site after a small sample set of games are maddening to say the least.

..

The moves at the trade deadline which I opposed now look even worse.

The moves at the deadline are still small sample size as of today, correct?

To me, the only move that actually matters going forward is acquiring Wright for $6 million in cap space next season. It’s tough to argue based on Wright’s history that it’s a bad deal. I don’t think any of the other players are guaranteed, but correct me if I’m wrong.

The Wright deal itself is only a clear negative if they lose Holmes for nothing, instead of having moved him at the deadline.

I don’t disagree that that the team has a talent problem, but it doesn’t just have to be that.

Last edited 1 month ago by Carl
AmateurNerd
April 13, 2021 9:39 am
Reply to  Carl

Wright was widely seen as an upgrade in talent over CoJo, and that is still true. What’s also still true is this team has incompetent coaching, so its assets are devalued and its flaws are maximized.

Want-to-be-gm
April 13, 2021 7:14 pm
Reply to  Carl

You made one solid point and that is the sample size. I think that’s why the words it appears were written. The main points however are these and they were well put by her. First the Kings record reflects their roster no better or no worse. The second point is about the trade deadline moves. The moves should have done one of two things. They either should have improve the team now for a playoff drive or the moves are made to position the team for the future. It appears they have done neither and that was the criticism of the moves as I read it and I agree with.

Lastly the team may have other issues but overwhelming it’s a talent problem and until the roster gets better, the record isn’t going to change much regardless of the other issues which may at best matter around the margins.

1951
April 13, 2021 9:23 am

We are losing for one reason mainly and that is because the roster is not good.

Let us start where we agree, the roster is not good.

That said, Joerger took a worse roster and a less dynamic Fox and coached that team to a 39 win season (.476 win %). And yes, that roster was worse. He had to start WCS at center for 81 games and play Justin Jackson over 20 minutes a game for over 50 games for effs sake.

What Joerger did was take his flawed roster and create a plan to utilize what few strengths he had. He created well defined roles for guys like Buddy.

And do not mistake me for lionizing coach Joerger. I’ll say now what I said then, he is a mid-tier NBA head coach, average at best. I have no problem moving on from an average coach, but with a caveat: when you get rid of a competent coach the idea is to replace him with someone better.

Walton lead the team to a worse winning percentage in year one (.431) and the team is even worse this year (.407) despite having the best version of Fox we have seen, Holmes at center, and an immediate impact ROY candidate.

So yes, the roster is still grossly flawed and I was hoping for more dramatic team building moves at the deadline. But the roster alone does not account for the plummeting winning percentage each year. I have seen no evidence of NBA competent game planning, role defining, team strategizing, line up creating, or anything else that falls on the coach.

Heck, his best moves (like moving Hali into the starting lineup) seem to only come when forced to do so, not by ingenuity or strategic foresight.

AmateurNerd
April 13, 2021 9:41 am
Reply to  1951

In the two seasons since Joerger, the roster has improved and the results have declined. I can forgive McNair keeping Walton this year, because the team is in some financial straits and they weren’t going to win much anyway. But if Walton is still the coach of this team 72 hours after the final game, McNair will lose a lot of goodwill.

Otis
April 13, 2021 9:47 am
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Completely agree. At this point, we’re talking about 18 more games.

Want-to-be-gm
April 13, 2021 1:47 pm
Reply to  1951

Why did every knowledgeable analyst including the betting lines forecast the Kings to win 28 games. I bet the over at the Hyatt in Incline Village. Is there something you know that all those analyst don’t. She is totally accurate in everything she has said. The roster stinks and the the trade deadline moves were not good although not catastrophic. Also when the Kings won a few games without Bagley many on this site were using that as proof Bagley was the problem. You will never admit it but she looks correct at this point.

1951
April 13, 2021 2:43 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

Much to unpack here but I’ll focus on the part where you are totally agreeing with me and making my point better than did I!

Heading into the 2018-19 season, the vegas over/under line for the Kings was 25.5, oddsharks dot com predicted the Kings to win 26 games, second lowest in the league, and Bleacherreport pegged them at 25 wins.

Breaking news: they won 39 games with Joerger as coach, vastly outperforming “all those analysts.” You also confirmed that the experts agree that Joerger’s roster was analytically worse (projected 25 wins) than Walton’s (projected 28 wins).

So, I agree with you that Luke isn’t the coach that is going to come up with a way to exceed expectations. He is going to take a flawed collection of parts and let it be a bad team.

Joerger, who isn’t even a great coach, was able to take a flawed collection of parts and make it better than expected.

Thank you for so clearly highlighting the difference between the two.

Last edited 1 month ago by 1951
Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
April 13, 2021 6:43 pm
Reply to  1951

I think you made my point. First of all the roster isn’t better now and the league keeps getting better. Also Joerger’s overall record wasn’t good and your isolating on one season. As for that roster, Bogi is better than Haliburton right now although Haliburton will likely become better than Bogi at some point soon. Shumpert was playing out of his rear end, Bjelica was much better then than now as age is catching up to him, the bench was far better. The only thing better about this roster is Fox is better now and maybe slightly better post play.

Nevertheless, the NBA all comes down to players and with few exceptions the marginal difference between coaches is very small. If you have any doubts about that track Kerr’s record. It matches his personnel. He’s been at the very top and the very bottom and In between. No coach is going to win with the current Kings roster. Beyond the starting lineup they have the worst bench in the NBA. Again not one person is able to provide 5 rosters worse than the Kings. The Kings are performing to their roster.

RORDOG
April 13, 2021 10:04 am

I don’t agree with this:

The moves at the trade deadline which I opposed now look even worse. Not only did they not help us this year but they weakened us next year. We lost some second round picks and some vital cap space and for what.

I think it’s important to look at each trade separately since there really isn’t some grand unifying theory for each trade despite all the “value buyer” talk.

Delon Wright: Wright cost them a shitty second this offseason, and their own 2024 second. In exchange they got a good player on a great contract next season. His contract does not impact much of anything. They can simply trade him this offseason if they needed to (and most likely get pick compensation in return).

Terence Davis: This was an upside gamble that Davis could be a poor man’s Buddy Hield off the bench. They did give up the Memphis pick, but it’s because Davis has flashed potential of being a good 6th man, and he’s only 23. In addition, he’s a restricted free agent, and teams aren’t allowed to offer him a first year contract above the amount the Kings can pay him using his early bird rights. If he was an unrestricted free agent, then they never would’ve done the deal. If they don’t want his cap hold to impact their cap siutation, then they can just waive him or renounce their rights.

Mo Harkless: There isn’t any real value bringing in Harkless past this season. What we don’t know is if taking back Harkless was the cost of moving Bjelica’s contract. It could just be that the Kings were going to have to waive Bjelica, and this deal gave them some wing depth while saving a few million in the old operating budget.

Chris Silva: Probably doesn’t have any value, but he has a team option next season, so he doesn’t really impact their cap space next season unless they want to keep him.

HoustonJP
April 13, 2021 12:16 pm

This is definitely a Tuesday Morning Trap.

Ccc
Ccc
April 13, 2021 12:31 pm

Lol the kings have be “tanking” for 15 years. Don’t fire Walton now, teams always go on a little streak after their coach gets fired. Even under an interim.

Maybe we should rename the team. Start fresh.

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