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How Kings took a step forward on long road to progress with win over Pelicans

Kings forward Zach Randolph (50) goes to the basket against Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in New Orleans on Tuesday. The Kings won 114-103.
Kings forward Zach Randolph (50) goes to the basket against Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in New Orleans on Tuesday. The Kings won 114-103. AP

Zach Randolph led five Kings in double figures as Sacramento ended its six-game trip with a 114-103 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night at Smoothie King Center.

The Kings (16-34) went 3-3 on the trip. Randolph had 26 points and 12 rebounds and Kosta Koufos added a season-high 17 points and career-high 17 rebounds. De’Aaron Fox and Garrett Temple each had 15 points. George Hill added 14 points.

Anthony Davis led the Pelicans (27-23) with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Jrue Holiday had 21 points and six assists while Ian Clark added 20 points.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Koufos underappreciated

Though Koufos will receive more attention for his big numbers Tuesday, much of what he is asked to do is not reflected in statistics.

Koufos often draws tough defensive assignments, allowing the likes of Randolph or Willie Cauley-Stein to conserve energy for the offensive end.

George Hill keeps it professional

Trade rumors surrounded Hill as the Kings hit the road, and there was no certainty he’d still be on the team when the trip was over. But Hill never complained and has had some solid performances, Tuesday being the latest example.

Hill has adjusted to coming off the bench as a scorer on the second unit.

The focus didn’t waver

Sometimes at the end of a long trip a team will play as if it just wants to get home. The Kings held it together to put away the Pelicans in the second half.

It’s a sign players such as Fox are maturing and avoiding mistakes that ailed the team much of the season.

The Kings jumped on the Pelicans to start the third, built a 12-point lead and fended off the Pelicans’ attempts to rally.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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