By ERIC HE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — CJ McCollum scored 30 points, making seven 3-pointers, and the New Orleans Pelicans led by 50 points in a 133-100 rout of the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Pelicans, who have won six straight on the road and all four matchups this season against the Kings, including a quarterfinal victory in Sacramento in the In-Season Tournament. Brandon Ingram also scored 15 points.
“It was beautiful … just wire to wire,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “It was fun basketball to watch. They executed on both ends of the floor.”
Both teams, in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference playoff picture, entered the game having won four of five. The Pelicans had won four straight before losing by 16 to the Clippers at home on Friday.
Domantas Sabonis had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, but star guard De’Aaron Fox scored just three points on 1-of-10 shooting.
“Give New Orleans a lot of credit,” Kings coach Mike Brown said. “They came in here and they just flat-out kicked our (butts), and did it for four quarters.”
Brown apologized to Kings fans who “spent their money coming to watch the game today.”
“For us to perform that way and the lack of fight to get back in the game, stay in the game … was nonexistent,” Brown said.
The Pelicans won comfortably even without Zion Williamson, who was out with a right quad contusion. Green said before the game that Williamson was “doing good,” but would not be available. Jose Alvarado (non-COVID illness) also missed the game for the Pelicans.
The Pelicans, up 12 after one quarter, pulled away with a 12-2 run to start the second. McCollum knocked down two 3-pointers in that stretch, giving New Orleans a 45-23 lead.
“Guys did a great job of moving the ball around, setting great screens for me, allowing me to maintain rhythm and balance and let me shoot the ball with confidence,” McCollum said.
Ingram, who had eight assists, credited McCollum for “getting to his spots.”
“We had some good IQ on the floor,” Ingram said. “Where he was hiding, we kept feeding him the basketball. He felt comfortable tonight and we just kept feeding him, so we always try to go to what’s hot.”
The visitors extended the lead to 27 at halftime, with Ingram scoring seven straight points, including a pull-up 3-pointer in transition that gave the Pelicans their 70th point of the half. New Orleans shot under 63% from the field in the first half while holding Sacramento to under 40%.
The lead went up to 40 late in the third quarter on a 27-12 start to the half for the Pelicans, with a 3-pointer by Naji Marshall giving them a 99-59 advantage. Trey Murphy’s 3-pointer with 9:44 left in the fourth put New Orleans ahead 112-62.
“It’s a really good feeling when you’re able to beat a team on their home floor, and you hear their fans booing,” McCollum said.
Both teams rested their starters for most of the fourth quarter.
New Orleans dominated on the glass, outrebounding Sacramento 51-25. The Kings had just nine boards in the first half.
“It’s hard to beat a team four times, we understand that,” Green said. “There’s certain matchups in the NBA that are suited for certain teams. We seem to match up well with Sacramento. We play them again, so I’m sure when that time comes, they’ll be ready.”
Pelicans: Visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
Kings: Visit the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. ___
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