Yikes: Kings suffer embarrassing 136-104 loss in New Orleans

Feb 5, 2023, 6:31 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 13: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings reacts durin...

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The 2022-23 season has been a blast thus far for the Sacramento Kings, but the team’s two most recent games have been a stern reminder that they still have some work to do.

A shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans team that entered play having lost 10 of their past 11 games handed the Kings their worst loss of the season in the form of a 136-104 final on Sunday night at the Smoothie King Center.

The Kings defense looked as bad as it has looked all season, as Sacramento allowed a season-high 136 points to a Pelicans team that shot 57 percent from the field, 53 percent from three, and outscored the Kings 66-44 in the paint.

Sacramento (29-23) has lost two-straight games and will look to end its seven-game road trip on a high note when they travel to Houston for a two-game set against the Rockets.

For the second-straight game, the Kings looked like they were playing half-asleep during the first two quarters.

New Orleans completely dominated the first half as Naji Marshall and Trey Murphy III combined for 26 points while the Pelicans shot 55 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. Sacramento’s starters struggled, three-point attempts continued to come up empty (five-for-18 in the first half), and the Kings entered the break in an 18-point hole.

Unlike Friday’s game in Indiana, there wouldn’t be any late comeback in this one as a depleted Pelicans team continued to put a beat down on the lifeless Kings for all 48 minutes of action.

The Pelicans picked apart Sacramento’s noted abysmal defense by shooting

Coming into the seven-game road trip against primarily sub-.500 teams, the expectation was that Sacramento needed to take four or five of these games to pad their place in the Western Conference standings. With two games left on the trip, the Kings will need to secure victories on Monday and Wednesday in Houston if they are to return home with a 4-3 record.

The Pacers had lost 10 of 11 games before beating the Kings on Friday. New Orleans, who was missing All-Star forward Zion Williamson, scoring wing Brandon Ingram, and bruising big JonasValančiūnas, handed Sacramento its ugliest loss of the year.

Indiana and New Orleans were playing the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back, as the two defeats dropped Sacramento to 2-8 this year against teams that are playing the second game in as many nights. For whatever reason, the Kings fall flat against teams that should have tired legs and fatigue.

Instead, it’s Sacramento that has looked like the exhausted team.

It’s two games, but they are two ugly reminders that while the Kings have turned heads around the league with their improved and exciting play, they are far from a perfect product. With Fox missing another game, the starters looked lost, and the team’s offense looked out of sorts–especially from beyond the arc.

With the game out of reach and Monday’s game in Houston looming, head coach Mike Brown pulled most of his starters during the third quarter but left struggling shooters Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray on the floor in the fourth in an attempt to jumpstart the two starters.

After shooting just 30 percent from deep during the first four games of the trip, Sacramento shot just 11-of-42 (26%) from three-point range during Sunday’s loss. Huerter (two-of-seven) and Murray (0-for-six) continued to struggle during the losing effort on a night where the Kings starters scored just 39 points.

Huerter and Murray’s struggles have come at an unideal time, as the offense has looked sluggish and sloppy (15 turnovers on Sunday) without its leader in Fox.

With or without Fox, the past two losses have been inexcusable for a Kings team that currently sits in the third spot in the Western Conference standings. There isn’t much separation between spots three through 11, meaning Sacramento needs to get back on track in Houston when they face the owner of the NBA’s worst record for a two-game set.

Injury Updates

De’Aaron Fox missed his second-straight game due to personal reasons. It is currently unknown how long the guard will be away from the team.

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Next Game

The seven-game road trip will continue on Monday for Sacramento as they will begin a two-game set against the NBA-worst Houston Rockets (13-40).

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Rockets coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 3:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 5:00 pm PST from Houston.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Monday, February 6th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5:00 PM PST

Wednesday, February 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5:00 PM PST

Friday, February 10th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST

Saturday, February 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST

Tuesday, February 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 6:00 PM PST

Friday, February 17th — Sunday, February 19th — NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah.


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Yikes: Kings suffer embarrassing 136-104 loss in New Orleans