Sacramento Kings Improve To 4-5, Hand New Orleans Pelicans 0-8 Record
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, California — While there was a fight for the highest office in the land occurring on Tuesday, the Sacramento Kings was in Golden 1 Center duking it out with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Kings’ defense proved to be the provocateur as Sacramento (4-5) took out the winless New Orleans Pelicans 102-94 at Golden 1 Center during the General Election. The Kings are now 2-1 at G1C and held their opponent, for the second straight game, under 100 points.
“That was a good win for us,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “The thing that was difficult was that they were fighting, scratching, and clawing. I give (New Orleans) a lot of credit. They are going through a tough time with their record. But they competed.”
Sacramento Kings point guard Darren Collison greets the fans before playing his first game of the season at Golden 1 Center on Nov. 8.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 28 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocked shots in nearly 33 minutes. Rudy Gay added 21 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Darren Collison, who missed the first eight games to serve out a suspension, had nine points and four assists off the bench.
Arron Afflalo made five of six shots from the floor and finished with 15 points for the Kings. It was a tough battle for the Kings, who led from the tip-off all the way until the sound of the buzzer, but they showed no mercy toward the Pelicans.
“I’ve been through certain situations myself,” Cousins said. “But I think they have an talented group. They are all new to one another and they’ll figure things out. I think A.D. (Anthony Davis) is an incredible player and I know he will pull that team through the slumps. It’s just a matter of time before they hit their stride.”
Davis had 34 points, eight rebounds, two steal and one assists for New Orleans (0-8). E’Twaun Moore finished with 13 points and five assists and rookie Buddy Hield added 14 points and two rebounds in a reserve roll for the Pelicans. Hield is baffled of New Orleans’ current record, though he is preaching patience.
“I’m not use to this at all. But it’s a long season,” Hield said following the game. “We just have to stay confident. We’re 0-8 right now but we’re going to find a way and we are going to break through this. We have a lot of games left. All we need is a win to build our confidence up.”
Arron Afflalo made a three-point basket with 1:45 left to play that gave Sacramento a 51-42 margin, the Kings largest lead in the first half. New Orleans wouldn't go away though. The Pelicans held on to trail 51-48 at the break, sort of.
The officials had to put 18.9 seconds back on the clock before the second half started due to not allowing Cousins to shoot free throw shots when the Pelicans were in the penalty. The first half actually ended up with 53-46 score after Cousins made the two extra shots at the charity stripe.
The Kings had an 11-point point lead after Collison made his first basket, a 3-pointer, with 3:20 left in the third quarter. Collison had seven points in the third quarter and the Kings lead 76-70 going into the fourth.
“Darren is a dynamic force for us,” Gay said. “He’s a spark plug. He can score in the paint and do a lot things for us on the court. We’re a lot better with him.”
The Pelicans managed to cut the lead 78-74 early in the fourth, but the Kings mounted up a 8-0 run, capped off by Cousins’ bucket to make the score 86-74.
When it looked like the Pelicans were ready to make another move, the Kings countered with Joerger’s defense and Cousins’ will to move New Orleans’ players around at will in the post. Afflalo got into the mix too by making a four-point play with 45.2 seconds left to play. The Kings were comfortably up 97-88.
The Kings played their first game in G1C after escaping the jaws of humiliation by winning one of five games on the road. Sacramento beat Toronto 96-91 on Nov. 6 after dropping Ls in Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, and Milwaukee. The Kings are 2-1 thus far in G1C.
The Pelicans continue their losing ways. New Orleans is 0-4 on the road and 0-4 at home. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was visibly upset with another loss, but he certainly not throwing in the towel.
“We just got to play better. There’s just no way of getting around it,” Gentry said. “The effort is good and I talked to the guys about the fact that I love the way we are playing hard. But we all have to play smart. In some cases we are not playing smart.”
Darren Collison returned to the Kings’ roster after serving an eight-game suspension stemming from a domestic violence conviction over the summer.
A seven-year veteran, Collison entered the game at the 6:10 mark of the second quarter But didn’t score until he knocked down a trey with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
Collison finished the game with nine points, four assists, and one rebound in 27 minutes and 34 seconds. His teammates were more excited about his return than he was.
“I think the best part of the day was earlier this morning,” Collison said after the game in the Kings’ locker room. “I came into the locker room and my teammates were waiting and start cheering. That made me feel real good and the fans embraced me. It felt really good to be out there and be with my teammates.”
The Sacramento Kings held their second straight opponent under 100 points.
Willie Cauley-Stein has started out the gates slow this season, but against the New Orlean Pelicans he was the “Willie-Trill” of old. Cauley Stein had nine points, three rebounds, and three blocked shots in 12 minutes and 25 seconds. “Stop thinking and just play. That’s the mindset I’m going with now,” he said.
More Darren Collison: “This is the first time in my career that I didn’t take a nap. I literally stayed up and waited for the game to start because I was so anxious to play. I was excited to be out there to play with my teammates.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton conceded to Republican candidate Donald Trump for U.S. President. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America when he is inaugurated in January 2017.
Photo Art and Story by T. Ray Harvey