Hot-shooting Pelicans hold off late Kings rally to stay as West sixth seed

Published April 12, 2024, 1:20 PMNBA.com Philippines Staff

CJ McCollum did his damage outside, while Zion Williamson pounded inside. The result? A much-needed Pelicans’ dub to stay within the West’s top six.

CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson took charge as the Pelicans swept their season series with the Kings.

CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson combined for 62 points, powering a sizzling New Orleans Pelicans shooting en route to a 135-123 road win over the Sacramento Kings for a third straight win.

 The @PelicansNBA star duo came up big in a win vs. the Kings as they stand at #6 in the West!

McCollum took over in the final frame, scoring 12 of his 31 points built on four triples, including this shot clock-beating trey to put New Orleans by double digits early in the fourth.

 Z MIDDY pic.twitter.com/Yjprl35clm

Zion finished with 31 points--his 13th 30-point game of the season---along with six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Herb Jones also cooked with 27 points built on six three-pointers and Jose Alvarado added 14 markers on top of four triples.

Overall, the Pelicans drained 22 three-pointers as McCollum, Jones, Alvarado accounted for 19 of them.

New Orleans had a 23-point lead midway through the fourth, 123-100, but got trimmed down to eight points at 129-121 after a Keegan Murray basket.

However, Jones dosed the Kings’ last-gasp run with a triple and Williamson scored another to seal the win.

 TREY. MURPHY. pic.twitter.com/eHArfMGQax

De'Aaron Fox had 33 points to lead the way for Sacramento as Harrison Barnes chipped in 22 and Murray added 19. Domantas Sabonis had another double-double of 18 markers and 10 boards.

Swipa stays SWIPING 🦊💪 pic.twitter.com/Eb0XnimCYZ

The loss at home paved the way for the Kings to lock a play-in spot with two more games up next in their turf against the Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Just last year, the Beam team finished third in the West with a surprising run before bowing out against the Golden State Warriors in the first round in seven grueling games.

However, the Kings’ playoff return might not happen if they couldn’t get past the Play-In Tournament.

Sacramento found themselves in an early 34-11 but responded with 15 straight points to get back within eight early in the second quarter after a Fox triple, 34-26.

The win put the Pelicans (48-32) one game ahead of seventh-seed Phoenix Suns (47-33) in the race for the West’s sixth spot.