NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ryan Anderson tied his career high with 36 points and New Orleans beat the Sacramento Kings 114-105 on Thursday night, the Pelicans’ sixth victory in eight games.
The Pelicans won despite the absences of newly named All Star Anthony Davis, who suffered a concussion on Monday night, and Tyreke Evans, who has right knee tendinitis. Jrue Holiday had 25 points and eight assists for New Orleans, while Norris Cole had 17 points and a career-high 10 assists.
Bryce Dejean-Jones, making his first NBA start, added 14 points.
DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost three straight. Ben McLemore added 26 points for Sacramento and Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 15 assists.
Kings associate head coach Chad Iske stood in for head coach George Karl, who was out sick.
New Orleans, which lost 11 of its first 12 games this season, is now 17-28 and just three games behind Portland for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Pelicans’ only two losses in the past eight games came by two points at Memphis and by one point at home to Houston on Monday night.
The Kings, who trailed by as many as 19 in the second quarter, were as close as five in the third period when James Anderson‘s driving layup made it 82-77.
But Ryan Anderson responded with his fifth 3 of the game, and New Orleans steadily rebuilt its lead to 19 again when Cole’s driving bank shot made it 101-82 with less than eight minutes to play. Sacramento never got closer than eight after that.
Despite missing two of their top three scorers in Davis and Evans, New Orleans raced to an 18-point lead in the first quarter, when Ryan Anderson scored 18 of his points on 8-of-12 shooting, highlighted by a pair of 3s and an array of mid-range turnaround jumpers.
The lead grew to 19 when Holiday’s 3 made it 42-23 early in the second quarter.
Cousins, who had nine points in the second quarter, helped Sacramento briefly whittle its deficit to single digits before Anderson hit a step-back jumper to give him 30 points in the first half and push the Pelicans’ lead back to 11.
Rondo’s free throw cut New Orleans’ lead to 63-53 at halftime.
Kings: Rondo reached double-digit assists for his 14th straight game, tying the franchise record set by Nate “Tiny” Archibald in 1972. … The Kings fell to 8-14 on the road, where they have lost two straight.
Pelicans: Alonzo Gee scored 10 for New Orleans. … The Pelicans, plagued by injuries all season, sent out their 21st different starting lineup of the season. … The Pelicans improved to 1-5 when Davis does not play. … New Orleans had at least 10 3s for the 18th time this season, compared with 14 all of last season. It was also the Pelicans’ sixth game in the last eight with 10 3s.