DeAaron Fox

Kings come up empty again, suffer back-to-back losses to Pelicans

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The Kings came up empty on their trip to The Big Easy.

Two days after getting run out of Smoothie Kings Center in a 36-point loss, Sacramento was plagued by many of the same issues Wednesday in its 117-112 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Kings were outscored in the paint 62-28 and on second-chance points 15-4. The Pelicans also scored 20 points off their 16 turnovers, while Sacramento scored just five points off New Orleans’ 10 turnovers.

Sloppy play led to the Pelicans building up a 17-point lead in the third quarter. But instead of rolling over like they did Monday, the Kings chipped their way back and took a one-point lead with 5:30 remaining.

“Our guys showed a little bit of fight,” coach Mike Brown said after the loss. “You like that, and hopefully we can bottle that up going forward.”

The Kings just ran out of gas and were outscored 13-7 down the stretch. De’Aaron Fox, the reigning NBA Clutch Player of the Year who is one of the front-runners to win that award again this season, uncharacteristically didn’t score in the fourth quarter until he nailed a 12-foot jumper with 1.1 seconds left.

“He’s our guy. He’s got to be aggressive,” Brown said. “He has to be more aggressive in a one- or two-possession ball game going down the stretch, especially if we’re struggling to score.”

Domantas Sabonis finished one rebound short of his 12 double-double this season, scoring 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He took an elbow to the face on Brandon Ingram’s game-clinching bucket, but no foul was called. Brown told reporters after the game he didn’t have an update on Sabonis’ status.

Up next for the Kings? An NBA In-Season Tournament collision with the red-hot Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Both teams are 2-0 in Group C play, and the winner likely will punch their ticket to Las Vegas for the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals.

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