NEW ORLEANS —
Brandon Ingram scored 33 points on 15-of-19 shooting and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Sacramento Kings 125-95 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.
Ingram scored 28 of his points before being briefly forced out of the game by an elbow to the face from Damian Jones. But he returned in the fourth quarter to make a tough turnaround, a transition 3-pointer and a couple of heady assists that helped New Orleans snuff out any hope the Kings had of coming back.
Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and CJ McCollum had 17 points and a season-high nine assists for the Pelicans. They’ve won three straight to remain firmly in contention for a Western Conference play-in spot.
Naji Marshall scored a season-high 17 points and rookie Herb Jones added 14 points to go with three blocks and two steals for New Orleans. The Pelicans shot 59.1% (52 of 88).
De’Aaron Fox scored 25 points and Harrison Barnes added 19 points for the Kings, who’ve dropped five of six. Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
The Pelicans opened a 15-point lead in the third quarter with a 17-5 run that included a pair of jumpers by Ingram, a dunk and layup by Valanciunas, a 3 by Jones and McCollum’s driving floater off the glass to ignite the pivotal surge.
Marshall opened the fourth with seven quick points, including a 3 and a reverse layup on a feed from McCollum to give New Orleans a 105-84 lead with 10:12 to go.
Defense was in short supply early. New Orleans shot 57.8% (26 of 45) in first half, with Sacramento not far behind at 50% (24 of 48).
Ingram hit 11 of his first 14 shots on a combination of mid-range jumpers and driving dunks, giving him 24 points in the first half.
Fox had 17 of his points in the first two periods, including five points in the final 1:20 of the second quarter pull Sacramento to 65-61 at halftime.
Kings: Hit five of their first six 3s before missing three of their next 29 to finish 8 of 35 (22.9%). … Jeremy Lamb scored 12 points in a reserve role.
Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes scored 13 points, making five of six shots. … Outrebounded the Kings 50-38. … Valanciunas, in his 10th NBA season, scored his 9,000th career point on a banked 3-pointer that gave him five points in the first minute of the game.
Kings: Visit San Antonio on Thursday night for their fourth stop on a five-game trip.
Pelicans: Host Utah on Friday night.
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