Haliburton sparks late run as Kings top Pelicans 112-99
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Tyrese Haliburton scored seven of his 20 points during a big run early in the fourth quarter and the Sacramento Kings beat the struggling New Orleans Pelicans 112-99 on Wednesday night.
Harrison Barnes added 23 points and eight rebounds to help the Kings stop a two-game skid. De’Aaron Fox had 19 points and five assists, and Alex Len scored 12 points with five blocks as Sacramento bounced back one night after blowing a late lead at Utah.
“Our energy was just better,” said Haliburton, who also had four steals. “We’re growing every day. That’s part of jumping to the next level. Right now we have to break through. We’re right there. That’s part of having a young team and growing. We’re just figuring it out right now.”
Devonte Graham and Nickel Alexander-Walker had 16 points apiece for the Pelicans (1-8).
“The fourth quarter, we just didn’t have enough to sustain our play,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “No excuses. Credit to Sacramento. They did what they needed to do to win the game. I have to coach better and we have to be better — that’s it.”
Sacramento led by five going into the fourth and was up 92-91 when Haliburton’s 15-foot jumper sparked a 14-0 spurt. The Kings’ top draft pick a year ago also made a deep 3-pointer and two free throws as part of the surge.
“I want his personality imprinted on our team. He is that type of guy,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “I don’t even care if he makes mistakes right now. If he wants to call his own play coming off the free throw line, call it. The more that he can share who he is with the identity of our team, the better we’re going to be.”
The Pelicans, with injured star Zion Williamson watching from the bench, missed 10 consecutive shots during one stretch and were limited to 12 points in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans has lost five straight.
“It’s tough, but we’re going to stay positive,” Kira Lewis Jr. said. “That’s the best thing we can do. Eventually we’re going to start winning games like this.”
Kings center Richaun Holmes was ejected early in the third.
Holmes was tossed after picking up his fourth foul and a pair of technicals. He had to be restrained by several members of the Kings’ staff, and he threw his headband into the stands as he walked off the court toward the locker room.
Sacramento initially struggled without its big man and top rim defender, as New Orleans went on a 13-0 run not long after Holmes was ejected. Alexander-Walker had six points during the burst, then added a layup that put the Pelicans up 78-72.
The Pelicans made nine 3s and led by eight in the first half, but Holmes threw down an emphatic dunk and Haliburton added three free throws over the final 54 seconds of the second quarter – one following a technical on Graham – to help the Kings go up 56-52.
Pelicans: Josh Hart was called for a technical foul late in the fourth quarter. … Second-round draft pick Herb Jones will enter the NBA’s concussion protocol after getting hurt in Tuesday’s loss to the Suns. … Brandon Ingram missed his third consecutive game because of a bruised right hip.
Kings: Recalled G Jahmi’us Ramsey and F Robert Woodard II from their NBA G League team in Stockton.
Pelicans: Play the Warriors in San Francisco on Friday.
Kings: Host the Hornets on Friday at Golden 1 Center. Charlotte has won the last five against Sacramento.
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By MICHAEL WAGAMAN