Kings make it reign from all over the court in 114-97 demolition of Pelicans

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Published: January 21, 2014

In a game that was never really close, the Kings straight up crushed the Pelicans tonight. There really isn’t much else to say. Even missing both Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday, New Orleans should have been able to, at the very least, keep the game close against one of the bottom-feeders in the Western Conference. Instead, Eric Gordon scored 7 points on 6 attempts against one of the worst defensive teams in the league while Rudy Gay dropped 41 points on 25 shots, leading Sacramento to 91 points after just 3 quarters of play. The result was a pretty embarrassing double-digit home defeat.

  1. Don’t put the Kings into the bonus early. If you think the Pelicans did a decent job in this regard, you clearly got to the game late. New Orleans committed ten fouls in the first twelve minutes, leading to 13 Sacramento free throw attempts. By halftime, the Pelicans were up to 18 fouls and the Kings were up to 24 free throws. Fail.
  2. Keep your best rim protector at the rim. All you have to do is look at the Kings’ 50 points at the rim (58% shooting in the restricted area) + 31 free throw attempts to see the train wreck that was the Pelicans’ interior defense. Major, major problems to be solved here, even with a full stable of healthy players.
  3. Contain Isaiah Thomas. While he didn’t score terribly efficiently (20 points on 17 attempts), he finished with a double-double (11 assists) and ran circles around Brian Roberts, consistently acting as the catalyst for successful Kings possessions.

Silver linings:

  • Jeff Withey. The Pelicans’ rookie center played 16 1/2 minutes tonight and finished with 14 points on 5-6 shooting to go along with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and no turnovers (not to mention the Pelicans were +14 with him on the court despite losing by 17). At this point, there is no good reason to keep letting Greg Stiemsma see so many minutes instead of letting one of your rookies get more playing time to develop (unless tanking is actually Monty Williams’ goal). We’ll see if tonight motivates a reallocation of minutes at the center position.
  • Darius Miller. Finishing with a +/- of +19 in a game that the Pelicans LOST by 17 gets you on here by itself. Statistically, he contributed very little apart from 4 rebounds, although I did like what I saw from him defensively in his 17 minutes.
  • Brian Roberts. Roberts scored 15 points on 6-10 shooting and added 6 assists without committing a single turnover. Of course, he couldn’t exactly defend Isaiah Thomas.
  • …aaaand that’s about it. Austin Rivers¬†played pretty well in some areas tonight (12 points on 4-8 shooting), but the 2-6 shooting from the FT line is just as frustrating as always. Davis earned 11 free throw attempts, but didn’t seem terribly engaged on the defensive side. Aminu’s offensive box score looks good… that is, until you remember that he was (supposed to be) guarding Rudy Gay. Yikes. I don’t feel like talking about this game anymore.

The Pelicans are back in action on Friday night in Detroit, as Davis and Drummond will square off for the first and only time this season (Davis was injured when the Pistons came to town earlier this season). Catch the game on Fox Sports New Orleans at 6:30 PM.

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