Nikola Mirotic had 26 points and 10 rebounds off the bench as the surging New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Kings 114-101 on Wednesday at Golden 1 Center.
New Orleans (38-26) has won 10 in a row, tying a franchise record. Jrue Holiday scored 23 points for the Pelicans.
Buddy Hield led the Kings (20-45) with 20 points. Zach Randolph scored 19 points and rookie Frank Mason III had 16 points, matching his season high, and six assists.
Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (lower back stiffness) left the game in the first quarter and did not return. The Kings were already without Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back strain) for a third consecutive game.
New Orleans All-Star forward Anthony Davis left in the third quarter with a left ankle injury and did not return. He went down after landing on the foot of Kings center Kosta Koufos. Davis had 17 points, five rebounds and five blocks.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
The Pelicans weren’t bothered most of the night
New Orleans didn’t shoot many free throws (nine) and didn’t need to in piling up points. The Pelicans shot 56.6 percent for the game, dropping the Kings to 8-25 when their opponent shoots 50 percent or better.
The Kings have to figure out how to make their opponents uncomfortable on offense. As their record shows, when opponents shoot well, they struggle to keep pace.
The energy was back
Two-way forward JaKarr Sampson was back from the Reno Bighorns, which meant the Kings had their instant boost of energy off the bench.
The Kings still need to find that energy at all times. Sampson isn’t around every game due to his contract, so the Kings need someone to be a spark consistently.
Randolph still gets his
Randolph scored his 19 points in just 26 minutes. When he does play, he’s a player the Kings can count on for offense, but there is still a struggle to find a go-to player to break runs.
Hield can score, but is primarily a jump shooter and he missed seven of his first 10 shots. Not having Fox didn’t help, but this has been a problem all season.