SACRAMENTO KINGS

Zion, Pelicans hand second straight loss to Kings

Nov 22, 2023, 8:04 PM

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 22: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings shoots against H...

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

While the Sacramento Kings didn’t experience a loss as embarrassing as Monday’s 136-102 defeat, they continued to struggle playing games at Smoothie King Center.

The Kings shook off a rough start and made things interesting late, but the New Orleans Pelicans were able to pull out a 117-112 win on Wednesday night.

Sacramento (8-6) dropped both of their matchups in New Orleans against the Pelicans as star forward Zion Williamson continued to dominate a carousel of Kings defenders during the two-game set.

Although adjustments were made late, Sacramento’s rough start and failure to create consistent stops on the defensive end hurt them during a second-straight loss in The Big Easy.

Kings vs. Pelicans Takeaways

Zion Keeps Rolling

Entering play on Wednesday, Zion Williamson had only dominated the Sacramento Kings.

Over five career matchups against Sacramento, Williamson held averages of 25.6 points and 5.0 rebounds on 70 percent shooting from the field, including a 26-point performance during Monday’s blowout win over the Kings.

That trend continued on Wednesday as the two-time All-Star scored nine points during his first nine minutes of action.

Williamson continued to tear through every defender that Sacramento threw his way, as Trey Lyles (four), Domantas Sabonis (three), and Chris Duarte (three) all ended the first half in foul trouble as the Pelicans’ star forward scored 17 points on six-of-seven shooting during just 16 minutes during the first two-quarters of action.

Down the final stretch, the Kings switched up their approach and threw double teams at Williamson, but the Pelicans were able to keep Sacramento’s offense in check until late in the fourth quarter.

With the game on the line late, Williamson coasted to the rim for a basket that gave New Orleans a 111-108 lead with 1:52 to go, a lead they would not relinquish as the Kings struggled to create open looks on their end of the floor.

Williamson finished the night with a team-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, five rebounds, and six assists over 35 minutes.

He’s done it since he entered the NBA, and Williamson continued to punish Sacramento’s defense during this two-game set.

Trey’s Return

After missing the first 13 games of the regular season due to a left calf strain, Trey Lyles made his season debut on Wednesday night.

The veteran forward gave the Kings a chance to walk away with a win on Wednesday, as Lyles scored 10 of his 12 points during the fourth quarter. Lyles finished the night four-of-eight from the field, including three-of-seven from deep to go along with eight rebounds over 28 minutes.

Sacramento has missed Lyles’ presence in the second unit, and although they couldn’t come away with a win, the Kings are in a better place with their primary bench forward back in the rotation.

Kings vs. Pelicans Notes

  • De’Aaron Fox brushed off a rough game on Monday to finish with 26 points on nine-of-17 shooting to go along with five assists and one steal during the loss.
  • Domantas Sabonis scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and handed out six assists over 36 minutes.
  • Williamson and the Pelicans absolutely dominated Sacramento in the paint on Wednesday. Not even close. (62-28). Yikes.
  • The Kings allowed 20 points off of 16 turnovers during the loss. New Orleans allowed just five points off turnovers.
  • Although Sacramento won the second half (62-53), the Pelicans caused too much damage during the first 24 minutes of play (64-50).
  • New Orleans won the battle of the boards as well on Wednesday: 48-38, including a 13-4 advantage on the offensive glass.
  • Harrison Barnes had his highest-scoring game of the season since putting up 32 points in the season-opener: 22 points on four-of-nine from three-point range.

Injury Report

Keegan Murray exited Monday’s game following the first half due to what the team described as a “lower back injury.” Murray did not suit up on Wednesday due to lower back soreness and is considered day-to-day.

Keon Ellis (left ankle sprain) was ruled out after taking a bad step on Sunday night in Dallas. The two-way guard is considered day-to-day.

Alex Len (right ankle sprain) will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain. Expect JaVale McGee and Lyles, once he returns, to slide in and take over the backup center duties.

When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?

Sacramento will play its most important game of the season thus far when they take the floor against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center on Friday night.

The Kings and Timberwolves hold 2-0 records in the NBA In-Season Tournament Western Conference Group C standings, with Sacramento holding a slim lead due to its +8.0 point differential.

Friday’s matchup will see one of these two teams inch closer to clinching a berth in the knockout round that is set to take place during the first week of December.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. T-Wolves coverage, beginning at 3:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 5:00 PM PST tip-off from Minneapolis.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, November 24th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves** – 5:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, November 28th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors** – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, November 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
  • December 3rd-10th: NBA In-Season Tournament Week (Schedule TBD)
  • Monday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

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