Zion Williamson shoots a layup at Sacramento

Panzura postgame wrap: Pelicans 128, Kings 123

Pelicans (5-7), Kings (5-9)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

New Orleans has struggled at the foul line for most of the first dozen games of the season, but when the Pelicans needed to make them Sunday, Steven Adams and Zion Williamson delivered. After a Sacramento surge cut the Kings’ fourth-quarter deficit to one, Adams went 4-for-4 and Williamson shot 2-for-2 in the final minutes, with Adams connecting on two with 17 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Sacramento intentionally fouled Adams with three-plus minutes to go, but the Hack-a-Kiwi strategy backfired when the center made a pair.

New Orleans did not reach the century mark in scoring in four of its first 11 games this season, but on Sunday, the Pelicans had already amassed 100 points early in the fourth quarter. New Orleans found every hole in Sacramento’s defense, breaking through for its first win since Jan. 2 and picking up a needed initial victory on a six-game Western Conference road trip.

The Pelicans got all the way to the basket early and often, whether the result was a Williamson dunk or an Eric Bledsoe driving layup.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Nickeil Alexander-Walker shook off a 0/3 start from the foul line to sink two with 5.6 seconds left, giving New Orleans an insurmountable edge. The Pelicans were up 67-58 at halftime and led by 19 in the first half, but had to hold off the Kings late.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Williamson’s 31 points approached his season high (32) and career high (35), but it may have been the best game efficiency-wise of his brief NBA career. The second-year forward made 13 of his first 14 shots from the field and finished a sparkling 13/15, as well as 5/5 at the foul line. Williamson put together a highlight reel in the first half alone by throwing down soaring dunks, including a sweeping left-hander and a two-hand slam in the middle of the paint.

BY THE NUMBERS

48-33: New Orleans rebounding advantage. The Pelicans have won this category on a regular basis this season, as arguably the league’s best team on the boards. Sacramento only had 10 rebounds in the first half.

2: Games this season in which New Orleans has shot over 50 percent from the field, including Dec. 23 at Toronto and this 52.9 percent showing in Sacramento.

27/34: Foul shooting by the Pelicans. Not only did the visitors come through in crunch time at the line, but they were very good for all 48 minutes, an area that’s been a weakness in 2020-21.

Revisiting three keys to victory

WIN THE BATTLE OF THE BIGS

Both teams received very strong performances from their starting frontcourts, with Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes making an impact in the paint for Sacramento. The edge went to New Orleans, though, based on the play of Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

ATTACK PERIMETER DEFENSIVE PRESSURE

Bledsoe drove repeatedly into the paint from the start, which helped New Orleans shoot 62 percent in the first half and score its most points in an opening half (67) this season. The Kings did bother the Pelicans a bit later with some token fullcourt pressure, resulting in a few late-clock possessions.

SHOOT WITH CONFIDENCE FROM THREE

A big plus in another area that’s been an early-season weakness. New Orleans shot 11/22 from the arc, going 5/11 in the first half and 6/11 after the break. It was the Pelicans’ first game at 50 percent from deep this season.

Pelicans vs. Kings Slo-Mo Highlights (1/17/21)

Catch slow motion highlights from the New Orleans Pelicans' road win over the Sacramento Kings in Game 12 of the 2020-21 NBA regular season.

2020-21 Game #12: Pelicans at Kings

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Pelicans vs. Kings Slo-Mo Highlights (1/17/21)

Catch slow motion highlights from the New Orleans Pelicans' road win over the Sacramento Kings in Game 12 of the 2020-21 NBA regular season.
Jan 18, 2021  |  00:46

Pelicans-Kings Postgame Interview: Stan Van Gundy 1-17-21

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy discusses the team's performance in the win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 18, 2021  |  05:35

Pelicans-Kings Postgame Interview: Zion Williamson 1-7-21

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson discusses the team's performance in the win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 18, 2021  |  02:30

Pelicans-Kings Postgame Interview: Eric Bledsoe 1-17-21

New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe discusses the team's performance in the win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 18, 2021  |  02:20

Pelicans-Kings Postgame Interview: Brandon Ingram 1-17-21

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram discusses the team's performance in the win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 18, 2021  |  04:35

Pelicans-Kings Postgame Interview: Steven Adams 1-17-21

New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams discusses the team's performance in the win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 18, 2021  |  08:20

Dunk of the Night: Zion Williamson

Dunk of the Night: New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson throws down the NBA slam of the night on January 17, 2021
Jan 18, 2021  |  00:00

Game Recap: Pelicans 128, Kings 123

DeAaron Fox tallied a career-high 43 points, along with four rebounds, 13 assists, and four steals for the Kings as they fell to the Pelicans, 128-123. Zion Williamson led the way for the Pelicans wit
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:01

Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Zion Williamson leads Pelicans with 31 points vs. Kings

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson led the team with 31 points in the win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:03

Pelicans Stat Leader Highlights: Steven Adams posts 12 points & 15 rebounds vs. Sacramento Kings

New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams posted 12 points & 15 rebounds in the team's win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:00

Pelicans On-Court Postgame Interview: Zion Williamson vs. Kings

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson speaks with Jen Hale about the team's performance in their win over the Sacramento Kings.
Jan 17, 2021  |  01:42

Kira Lewis Jr. dishes to Zion Williamson | Pelicans-Kings Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. penetrates the lane and dishes to Zion Williamson for the baseline finish.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:23

Eric Bledsoe banks home the lay-up | Pelicans-Kings Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe keeps his dribble alive and gets to the rim for the lay-up.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:19

Brandon Ingram drills triple | Pelicans-Kings Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram squares up for the triple against the Kings.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:14

JJ Redick buzzer beater | Pelicans-Kings Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick knocks down the corner triple to close out the first quarter against the Kings.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:11

Zion Williamson poster dunk | Pelicans-Kings Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson throws down the poster dunk against the Kings.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:23

Zion Williamson powers to the rim | Pelicans-Kings Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson makes a strong move to the rim to finish in the paint.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:16

Nickeil-Alexander Walker step back | Pelicans-Kings Highlights

New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker sinks the soft touch, step back jumper against the Kings.
Jan 17, 2021  |  00:18

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