Kings and Pelicans finally clash in long-awaited nationally televised game, but …

Jason Anderson, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Basketball

The Kings and New Orleans Pelicans were locked in a three-way tie for ninth in the Western Conference when they suited up for a nationally televised game at Golden 1 Center on March 11.

The contest had major playoff implications for both teams, but in a surreal scene shortly before tip-off, the game was postponed, fans were instructed to leave the arena and the NBA season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

America had to wait five long months, but the Kings and Pelicans finally played that game Tuesday night in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World Resort's AdventHealth Arena. Unfortunately, the stakes had changed. Only one game separated the Kings and Pelicans in the standings, but both teams had already been eliminated, prompting both coaches to sit some of their starters.

Harrison Barnes posted 25 points and seven rebounds to lead the Kings to a 112-106 victory over the Pelicans. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 16 points for Sacramento (30-41), which has won two games in the bubble, both against the Pelicans.

Harry Giles III had 12 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in one of his final games for the Kings before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Jabari Parker also came off the bench to score 12 points.

Jahlil Okafor scored 21 points for the Pelicans (30-41), who have also gone 2-5 in the bubble. Frank Jackson had 18 points. Lonzo Ball had 16.

Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox was held out due to a sore left shoulder. Richaun Holmes missed his second game in a row with a sore right hip and Kent Bazemore missed his third consecutive game with a sore left calf. The Pelicans chose to sit Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram due to knee soreness and Jrue Holiday due to an elbow contusion.


The game was competitive despite the circumstances. The Kings led 62-61 following a first-half that featured two ties and 23 lead changes. Players went to the floor for loose balls. Harry Giles III threw up a silky hook shot and threw down an emphatic dunk. Alex Len even made a 3-pointer.

The Kings carried a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter and went up by 13 on a dunk by Parker. The Pelicans cut the deficit to four in the final minute, but two free throws by Nemanja Bjelica helped the Kings hold on for the win.

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