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Thursday, March 23, 2023

NBA: Kings pull away in 3rd quarter to crush Pelicans

Domantas Sabonis Kings NBA

Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings reacts in the second half of their game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Golden 1 Center on March 06, 2023 in Sacramento, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

Domantas Sabonis recorded his eighth triple-double of the season, Trey Lyles capped a third-quarter spurt with a three-point play and the Sacramento Kings gradually pulled away from the visiting New Orleans Pelicans in the second half en route to a 123-108 victory Monday night.

Sabonis collected 19 points, 11 rebounds and a game-high 11 assists, while Kevin Huerter put up a game-high 25 points for the Kings, who won for the second time in three outings on a four-game homestand.

Brandon Ingram had 24 points to pace the Pelicans, who completed a 1-2 Western swing with a second consecutive loss.

The teams battled on even terms in the first half before Sacramento ran up 38 third-quarter points to take command for good.

Two free throws by the Pelicans’ Jaxson Hayes had New Orleans within 88-79 with 2:47 remaining in the third period, but the visitors never scored again in the quarter.

Meanwhile, Chimezie Metu and Davion Mitchell sandwiched two Malik Monk free throws with hoops to increase the Sacramento lead to 15 before Lyles turned a Mitchell assist into a buzzer-beating, three-point play that completed a 9-0 run that gave the Kings a 97-79 lead.

Playing once again without Zion Williamson, Larry Nance Jr. and Jose Alvarado, the Pelicans never seriously threatened in the final period.

Huerter connected on 6 of 10 shots from 3-point range to account for a majority of his points for the Kings, who outshot the Pelicans 56.6 percent to 53.8 percent overall and 42.1 percent to 37.9 percent on threes.

Even without De’Aaron Fox, out with a sore hamstring, the Kings put all five starters in double figures, with Mitchell finishing with 15 points, Harrison Barnes 14 and Keegan Murray 13. Lyles, Monk and Metu chipped in with 14, 11 and nine, respectively, off the bench.

Jonas Valanciunas was the game’s leading rebounder with 12 boards to go with 19 points for the Pelicans, who also saw all five starters score in double figures.

Trey Murphy III added 17 points, CJ McCollum 14 and Herbert Jones 13 to go with a team-high eight assists for New Orleans, which will host Sacramento in April in a game that will decide which team wins a season series currently tied at 1-1.


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