Pelicans dominate Kings, improve to 4-0 vs. Sacramento

Jan 7, 2024, 5:15 PM | Updated: 5:37 pm

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Even without Zion Williamson, the New Orlean Pelicans continue to act as a matchup nightmare for the Sacramento Kings.

Williamson might have sat out of Sunday’s game due to a right quad contusion, but the Pelicans continued to pummel the Kings on both ends of the floor during a 133-100 win at Golden 1 Center.

New Orleans has been a thorn in Sacramento’s side this season, as they hold a 4-0 record against the Kings following their latest blowout win.

Sacramento (21-14) finished its homestand on a sour note before embarking on a five-game road trip that is set to tip off on Tuesday afternoon in Detroit.

Kings vs. Pelicans Takeaways

Real Ugly, Real Fast

During Sacramento’s three previous meetings with New Orleans this season (all losses), the Kings fell behind by double-digit deficits early and could never make up the ground needed to pick up a win.

Sunday’s opening period recreated those previous starts, as Sacramento trailed by as many as 14 points during a rough first quarter. Without Sasha Vezenkov’s quick five points scored in less than sixty seconds near the end of the period, things could have been much worse than the 33-21 deficit the Kings faced as play entered the second.

While the damage seemed limited during the first, the Pelicans lengthened their lead to 20+ points as Sacramento continued to struggle on both ends of the floor.

New Orleans got whatever they wanted on the offensive end, finishing the half shooting 29-of-46 (63%) from the field and nine-of-16 (56%) from three-point range. The Pelicans also hammered the Kings on the glass (29-9) while out-scoring them in the paint 30-18.

Sacramento’s nine first-half rebounds nearly established a new franchise record for the fewest boards during a single half (eight on February 8, 1989).

On a night that saw New Orleans take the floor without All-Star forward Zion Williamson (quad), the Pelicans looked completely unaffected as CJ McCollum (20 first-half points) and the rest of the Pelicans poured it on to take a 72-47 lead into the halftime break.

New Orleans never looked back from the second they took its first lead early in the first, leading by as many as 50 points in a game that the Kings never seemed fully awake.

Shots weren’t falling on offense, with several players forcing shots against a Pelicans defense that entered play with the NBA’s sixth-best defensive rating.

Even without Williamson, the Pelicans continued to take advantage of mismatches on defense as Sacramento struggled to contain McCollum, Brandon Ingram, and Jonas Valanciunas, both when it came to scoring the basketball and handling the glass.

New Orleans took De’Aaron Fox (three points on 1/10 FG) out of his comfort zone and forced the Kings into 41 percent shooting from the field on a night without a silver lining on Sacramento’s end. Fox, who knocked down a triple during the opening minutes of play, didn’t score another point for the remainder of the game.

The Pelicans entered play holding a 3-0 record against the Kings while outscoring their Western Conference counterpart by an average of 17 points in those games. Instead of battling back and making a statement, Sacramento got flat-out embarrassed–on their home floor in front of a sold-out crowd, nonetheless.

Boos have been heard around Golden 1 Center before. It was pretty standard to listen to boos over the years, but since the start of last season, it has undoubtedly been a rare occurrence. On Sunday, the boos reached a decibel that has been unheard of in some time as New Orleans stretched its lead to 50 points early in the fourth quarter.

Things got so ugly that McCollum signaled to the Pelicans’ TV broadcast team that he had seen enough.

Sunday’s loss further confirms the concerns surrounding this Kings team that has been unable to match up well against opponents that roster several versatile wings.

The Pelicans are the most intense reminder that while Sacramento has played some solid basketball as of late (won four of the past six games), they still have holes that must be addressed if this team wants to make noise come playoff time.

At this point, if the Kings were to draw New Orleans in round one, there would be very little optimism regarding Sacramento’s chances of advancing into the second round.

February 8th’s NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching, and it’s games like Sunday’s that cause one to wonder what Kings GM Monte McNair will do to upgrade a roster that has no answer for teams like the Pelicans.


  • The Pelicans were beating the Kings so badly on Sunday that they only called a team timeout once during 48 minutes of play
  • Domantas Sabonis posted his 18th-straight double-double during the loss: 17 PTS | 10 REB | 6 AST
  • Outside of Sabonis’ 10 rebounds no other member of the Kings finished with more than two rebounds.
  • New Orleans out-rebounded Sacramento 60-30 on Sunday. Yes, that’s the real result.
  • The Pelicans shot a season-high 61 percent from the field and 54 percent from three-point range against a lackluster Kings defense.
  • The Kings have now lost seven of their 14 games this season by 17+ points.

Injury Update

Trey Lyles (right ankle sprain) was ruled out shortly before tip-off on Sunday and is considered day-to-day.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

After playing 10 of their past 13 games at home, Sacramento will embark on a five-game road trip that will take place over just seven days.

The Kings will begin the road trip on Tuesday night against a Detroit Pistons team that holds the NBA’s worst record at 3-33.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Pistons coverage, beginning at 2:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:00 PM PST tip-off from Little Caesars Arena.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, January 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Detroit Pistons – 4:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 10th – Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets – 4:00 PM PST
  • Friday, January 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, January 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Milwaukee Bucks – 4:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, January 16th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 4:00 PM PST

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