Pelicans more likely to face postseason play-in game after 121-103 loss to Kings
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — De’Aaron Fox scored 23 points, rookie Keegan Murray added 21 and the Sacramento Kings beat the Pelicans, 121-103, to clinch the NBA’s Pacific Division title Tuesday night (April 4).
Brandon Ingram scored 22 points and Trey Murphy III had 17 for the Pelicans (40-39), who entered the game knowing they could guarantee themselves sixth place in the Western Conference if they won their final four games.
Now, New Orleans is more likely destined for a play-in spot that goes to teams finishing seventh through 10th. But they have yet to clinch even that, needing one more victory or a loss by Dallas, which plays Wednesday, and Utah, which played against the Los Angeles Lakers late Tuesday night.
Domantas Sabonis had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Kings, who took the lead for good late in the first quarter and led by as many as 24 points in the second half.
Malik Monk scored 17 and Harrison Barnes 16 points for the Kings (48-31), who remained 1 1/2 games behind Memphis (49-29) for the second seed in the West.
Murray, drafted fourth overall out of Iowa last summer, made 7 of 10 3-point attempts. He hit five during the third quarter, when the Kings opened up a 17-point lead. It was his third straight game with 18 or more points.
Fox hit 10 of 23 shots and also had nine assists. Sabonis had his 13th triple-double this season.
The Pelicans were outrebounded, 43-37. Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points and had eight rebounds. C.J. McCollum and rookie Dyson Daniels each scored 12 points and Herbert Jones scored 11.
New Orleans needs to win two of the last three regular-season games to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2017-18. The Pelicans play host to Memphis on Wednesday night.
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