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Pelicans use hot start from three to knock down Kings and four-game losing streak

After Sacramento made it a little interesting in the fourth quarter, the New Orleans Pelicans, using hot three-point shooting as nightmare fuel, pick up a victory in Sleep Train and end their four-game losing streak.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Sacramento Kings by a final score of 109 to 97. Eric Gordon for the Pelicans led the way with 24 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block. DeMarcus Cousins had a monster game, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds for the Sacramento Kings. With the victory over the Kings, the Pelicans snap their previous four-game losing streak.

The Pelicans came out and started hot. Sacramento's defense wasn't awful, but New Orleans hit some pretty good shots. Dante Cunningham, a goat for his two misses against the Los Angeles Clippers three days prior, knocked down two threes from the corner and Anthony Davis decided to mimic him and knocked one down himself. It was the start of something.

The Pelicans started 8-of-16 from three, stretching the Sacramento defense and wailing on a Kings team that went 0-fer from three in the first half. That extra pass was instrumental in New Orleans getting tha best shot, which ultimately became a three.  It was some Cunningham and Davis, but it was also some Eric Gordon and Norris Cole. Ryan Anderson joined the fray with a three ball and it was a beautiful look for New Orleans, as they ran some pick-and-roll, spaced the floor, made the extra pass and hit open threes.

The Pelicans finished 16-of-33 shooting from beyond the arc. Gordon knocked down six threes while Ryan Anderson had four threes and finished with 18 points of his own off the bench.

Before the tip, Anthony Davis came back and honestly, I was conflicted about it. The Pelicans could always use their superstar player to play some games. Good for the league, and all that good stuff. Still, I think the best thing for New Orleans was to allow Davis to get to 100 percent and lose more games and help lottery position. Oh well, Davis came back and played well. He finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. His defensive impact is great, especially when he doesn't have to defend Boogie.

And Norris Cole came to play, came to play the last two nights, really. After injuries delayed his season, Cole came back and couldn't hit the water falling out of a boat, shooting 36 percent from the floor. Now, he's getting into something of a groove, scoring 11 points and got four assists against the Los Angeles Lakers and had 18  points and a couple threes against Sacramento, so that's good for him and for New Orleans as an energy player off the bench for the remainder of the season.

New Orleans led for much of the third and led by 25 heading into the fourth quarter. Seth Curry came in and played most of the fourth. I think you call that a win. A much needed victory for a New Orleans team that probably should throw in the towel, but still want to be competitive. Or so I thought. Sacramento picked it up in the second half. The Pelicans were up 25 heading into the fourth, everything looked good, but then, well, DeMarcus Cousins came out of nowhere, bringing the Kings back to within 13 points with 2:30 to go in the fourth quarter.

Then Ryan Anderson knocked down another easy shot, Anthony Davis got an old-fashioned three-point play and New Orleans walked away with a victory.

Small notes here.

  • Tyreke Evans' injury was not good. Not good at all. He's one of the main satellites for New Orleans, both getting to the basket and finishing at the rim, occasionally hitting the open three and creating for others. A knee issue hurts Evans both for this season and any potential trade the Pelicans wanted to make. It also forces Jrue Holiday into some larger minutes, something New Orleans would like, but something I worry about. An extended period of time missed would certainly mean time for Norris Cole.
Update --  The Pelicans got some good luck here.

  • There's been a ton of talk about Omer Asik and trading his contract. If the Pelicans want to move on from him, you do that next year and stretch him. However, I feel like his best value is that center the Pelicans could use him against big men like Cousins. In a perfect world, the Pelicans maximize New Orleans with a small ball four and Davis at the five and keep Asik around as someone who can come in, bang around, get some rebounds and provide some defense.
  • Much deserved dap to Eric Gordon, who played really well and is often forgotten when discussing the Pelicans recently. He spaced the floor, he made the extra pass and got active on the defensive end with a handful of steals AND a block. With him being an expiring contract, I think he's gone from New Orleans and good performances like that should entice a team that could use some shooting.