Julius Randle had 34 points and 10 rebounds as the host New Orleans Pelicans beat Sacramento 121-118 Thursday night, pushing the Kings closer to elimination from playoff contention.
Christian Wood had a career high in points for the second consecutive game with 25, Elfrid Payton added 16, Jahlil Okafor scored 12 and Stanley Johnson 10 for the Pelicans, who won for just the second time in 11 games.
Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis missed his second consecutive game because of lower back spasms.
Former Pelican Buddy Hield scored 27 points, De’Aaron Fox had 25 points and 12 assists, Willie Cauley-Stein had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Bogdan Bogdanovich scored 14, and Marvin Bagley III and Harrison Barnes had 10 points each for the Kings, who are in ninth place in the Western Conference.
New Orleans took a 2-1 lead in the season series, which concludes April 7 in Sacramento’s final home game of the season.
There were six lead changes and four ties during the third quarter, which ended with New Orleans holding a 93-88 lead.
Yogi Ferrell’s 3-pointer gave Sacramento a 99-97 edge early in the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans tied the score seven times in the next five minutes but could not regain the lead until Randle broke the seventh tie with a jumper with 3:08 to go.
Cauley-Stein’s dunk tied the score again before Ian Clark’s 3-pointer gave New Orleans the lead for good at 117-114 lead with 2:33 left.
The Kings twice pulled within one point, but the Pelicans answered with a basket both times, the second being Randle’s layup with 8.7 seconds left.
Sacramento’s last chance to tie failed when Hield missed a 3-point attempt.
New Orleans made all 14 of its free throws, but Sacramento matched the scoring at the foul line by making 14 of 16.
Randle scored 10 points as the Pelicans took a 30-26 lead after the first quarter.
New Orleans led by as many as nine points during the second quarter before Sacramento cut the deficit to 64-62 at halftime.
—Field Level Media