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Kings 102, Pelicans 97

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NEW ORLEANS — Center DeMarcus Cousins tied his season high with 35 points, including a reverse scoop with 1:05 left, and rookie point guard Ray McCallum scored 10 of his career-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Sacramento Kings to a 102-97 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night at the Smoothie King Center.

McCallum caught fire in the final period, hitting five jumpers, including four of five in a 2:37 span, to give Sacramento a 95-87 lead with 3:49 left. The Pelicans (32-42) got within 97-93 with 1:21 left, but Cousins drove in from the left baseline past Jeff Withey and hit a reverse layup for a 99-93 lead.

The Kings (26-48) also got 22 points from forward Rudy Gay, and they mauled the Pelicans on the boards, 47-30. New Orleans was led by guard Anthony Morrow with 23 points and forward Anthony Davis with 22.

The Pelicans closed within 84-83 on a 4-point play by Morrow and a floating jumper in the lane, but Sacramento scored seven straight — a 3-pointer by Gay and back-to-back jumpers by McCallum — to lead 91-83 with 5:51 left.

Sacramento used a 15-2 run midway through the third period to take command, 78-64, and the Kings led 80-68 when Ben McLemore swooped in for a right-hand dunk with 1:35 left in the quarter.

New Orleans, however, closed the quarter with eight consecutive points to cut the deficit to 80-76. The big sequence was a five-point possession after Sacramento forward Reggie Evans was ejected for committing a flagrant-2 foul when he whacked Davis in the head with his left elbow on a drive to the basket. Davis made both free throws and Morrow followed with a 3-pointer on the same trip.

Evans went to the showers with 12 rebounds in 23 minutes.

The Kings made eight of their first nine shots to take an early 23-14 lead, but the Pelicans turned the tables with a 33-24 second quarter to lead 55-53 at the half.

In the second quarter, New Orleans made 13 of 17 shots (76.5 percent), and the Pelicans did their damage with the bench, which outscored Sacramento’s reserves 25-4. Key to the bench strength was Morrow, who made all four of his shots in the half, including a pair of 3-pointers in a 13-3 run that put New Orleans up 39-34.

NOTES: Pelicans PF Anthony Davis, who missed most of the last two games with a left ankle injury, returned against the Kings. Davis threw a scare into the Pelicans when he played only four minutes in a 102-95 victory over the Jazz on Friday. … Coach Monty Williams said he gave no thought to holding Davis out for the final nine games of the season. “He wants to play,” Williams said. “With all the guys we have out, I think he kind of feels like he needs to be out there leading his team.” … In 13 previous starts, G Tyreke Evans averaged 20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. Williams says the 6-foot-6 Evans is best suited to playing shooting guard and occasionally playing the point, as opposed to playing small forward. … Sacramento PG Isaiah Thomas was sidelined with a right quad bruise. Rookie Ray McCallum, who played 48 minutes in a 103-100 loss to Dallas on Saturday, started in his place.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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