SACRAMENTO -- With most eyes focused on Election Night 2016, the Sacramento Kings moved within one game of .500 on the season with a 102-94 win over the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night.
DeMarcus Cousins went toe-to-toe with fellow Kentucky alum Anthony Davis and came out victorious. The Kings’ star big man hit from inside and out on his way to 28 points in 11-for-20 shooting, four rebounds and four assists as the Kings moved to 4-5 on the season.
Cousins and veteran Rudy Gay continue to pace the Kings' offense. Despite struggling with a rib cartilage strain, Gay put up solid numbers for the second straight contest. The veteran wing scored 21 points, handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds.
Sacramento has been waiting for the return of Darren Collison from suspension. The 29-year-old point guard made his season debut with the second unit and made an immediate impact. Collison finished the night with a modest nine points, but he dished out four assists, picked up two steals and got his teammates involved on the offensive end.
Arron Afflalo added 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Willie Cauley-Stein looked energized on his way to nine points and three rebounds and Kosta Koufos chipped in six points and seven rebounds starting alongside Cousins.
Davis played well for New Orleans, but like the previous seven games, it wasn’t enough. The three-time All-Star finished the night with 34 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals for the now 0-8 Pelicans.
E’Twaun Moore shook off a big toe injury early in the game to put in 13 points and four assists. He attacked the middle of the Kings defense and came away with plenty of easy baskets.
Rookie Buddy Hield scored 14 points off coach Alvin Gentry’s bench, but needed 16 shots to get there.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
The two teams headed to the half with the Kings leading 51-48. When they returned to the floor following the intermission, the officials admitting to an error in the final minute when Cousins was fouled, but not given a pair of free throws. The Pelicans last second basket was removed from the score, Cousins was put at the line with 18.9 seconds remaining where he hit both freebies, giving the Kings a 53-46 lead. New Orleans couldn’t get a basket and the half ended. And then the third quarter started up.
Davis was the high-scorer for the game, but Collison’s return to action and his seven points off the bench in the third quarter proved to be a huge lift for the Kings.
The Pelicans made a late run, cutting the Kings’ lead to just five with under a minute to play. With 45.2 seconds remaining, Afflalo buried a corner 3-ball and was fouled, ending New Orleans’ chances of a comeback.
Anthony Tolliver listed as probable coming into the night and was in uniform for Sacramento, but he did not make an appearance.
The Kings host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night at the Golden 1 Center before hopping a plane for Portland where they will play the Blazers Friday evening on the second night of a back-to-back.