No Zion Williamson, no problem: New Orleans Pelicans advance to playoffs with win over Sacramento Kings

Saturday, 20 April 2024 at 06:08
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The New Orleans Pelicans were without superstar Zion Williamson in this game as he suffered a hamstring strain in the previous play-in game. However, that did not stop the Louisiana team from picking up their most important win of the season as they came out on top 105-98 over the Sacramento Kings at Smoothie King Center to earn the last spot in the playoffs.
After a rough performance in the first play-in game, Brandon Ingram stepped up in this one for the Pelicans. He scored a team-high 24 points with 6 boards and 6 assists on 50% shooting and took over offensively at times in this contest. Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks while Trey Murphy III recorded 16 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists. CJ McCollum struggled with just 7 points but Larry Nance Jr. picked up the slack with 13 points off the bench.
De’Aaron Fox scored a game-high 35 points with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals for the Kings but it wasn’t enough in this one. Domantas Sabonis recorded 23 points, 14 boards, 7 assists, and 3 steals while Harrison Barnes had 17 points. Keegan Murray provided 11 points and 7 rebounds while Davion Mitchell contributed 10 points off the bench.
New Orleans now will play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. They faced off in the play-in last season where OKC came out on top so it will be a chance for the Pelicans to get redemption. Both of these squads don’t have much playoff experience so it will be interesting to see who wins this series. However, it will be a tough task without Zion.
Sacramento ends their season in heartbreaking fashion after experiencing tons of success last year. They will look to bounce back next year by adding more talent to their team, whether that’s resigning their current players or bringing in new faces through the draft and free agency. The Kings will continue to go as far as their star duo of Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox take them.

Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas come up HUGE for the Pelicans to clinch the West's #8 seed setting up a matchup vs. the #1 seed Thunder in Round 1 🔥 BI: 24 PTS | 6 REB | 6 AST JV: 19 PTS | 12 REB | 2 BLK