The Kings’ winning streak ended at four games Friday in New Orleans as a few familiar problems reappeared.
The offense never clicked as the Kings had their lowest point total in 13 games in the 102-88 loss to the Pelicans, failing to score more than 90 points for the first time since March 4 in San Antonio. Sacramento had scored at least 100 points in six consecutive games and 11 of its last 12.
And the Kings had only 14 assists after averaging 23.3 in their previous four games.
“We didn’t really get a smooth flow to the game,” said center DeMarcus Cousins. “We were kind of stagnant throughout the night.”
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Cousins had a good game, with 39 points and 20 rebounds, but overall the Kings failed to find their rhythm.
The bench produced only 12 points. Cousins, Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi were the only Kings to score in double figures, combining for 67 of Sacramento’s 88 points.
The Kings starting backcourt of Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore combined to shoot 3 for 13, and the second unit failed to provide a boost.
“I don’t think anybody gave us a good game in the backcourt,” said Kings coach George Karl. “You can put Nik (Stauskas) and Andre (Miller) on that list, too.”
The four guards combined to score 18 points, shooting 7 for 21.
New Orleans’ guards scored 46 points, with 25 from former King Tyreke Evans. The Pelicans’ guards shot 19 for 31.
Defense, too – Defensive issues also surfaced, and the Kings will need to correct them before playing the Grizzlies in Memphis on Monday.
The Pelicans shot 51.2 percent. The Kings are 1-16 when allowing opponents to shoot 50 percent or better.
The Kings usually give up high shooting percentages on nights when their opponents score a lot off turnovers. But the Pelicans only scored 12 points off the Kings’ 11 turnovers.
Off-day plans – With their next game on Monday, the Kings took Saturday off from practice and instead visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
St. Jude specializes in research and treatment of children with cancer and other serious diseases. Through donations, St. Jude is able to care for children without billing their families.
Gay has been a supporter of St. Jude dating to his playing days with Memphis.