NBA play-in: Pelicans rally past Kings without Zion Williamson, will face Thunder as No. 8 seed

Brandon Ingram led the best way for the Pelicans within the NBA play-in match. (AP Photograph/Gerald Herbert)

It was no Zion Williamson, no downside for the New Orleans Pelicans. At the very least on Friday.

The Pelicans prevailed previous the Sacramento Kings 105-98 on Friday within the closing recreation of the NBA play-in match, regardless of dropping their most recognizable participant to a hamstring harm of their earlier recreation. They’re now set to face the top-seeded Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder within the first spherical because the West’s No. 8 seed.

The loss ends the Kings’ season, which continued into Friday through a cathartic win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. The staff nonetheless hasn’t gained a playoff collection since 2004.

Brandon Ingram led the best way for the Pelicans, with 20 factors, six rebounds and 6 assists on a formidable night time for a staff that went 49-33 within the common season. Sacramento held the benefit early, however the Pelicans, with an enthusiastic Smoothie King Heart crowd behind them, took management late within the second quarter and led by at the very least 5 factors for all the second half.

A ten-0 run early within the fourth quarter all however put the sport away, although a late Kings run did convey the lead again to single digits.

Now, the Pelicans have the Thunder to fret about, with Williamson unlikely to assist. He was recognized with a hamstring pressure and can be re-evaluated greater than week sooner or later, leaving the Pelicans to determine Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and firm with out him. The Pelicans went 1-2 towards the Thunder within the common season.

Recreation 1 is scheduled for Sunday at 8:30 p.m. CT in Oklahoma Metropolis (TNT).

The place do the Kings go from right here?

The Kings entered this season with hopes greater than any season in latest reminiscence. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis led Sacramento to the third-best report within the West with top-of-the-line offenses within the NBA.

That season led to disappointment with a seven-game loss to the Warriors within the first spherical, however hope remained. The staff’s core was younger, with Fox, Sabonis, Keegan Murray, Malik Monk and Kevin Hurter all 27 or youthful. It was affordable to anticipate enchancment, however the Kings noticed stagnation as a substitute.

It might be unreasonable to say the Kings have to return to the drafting board after two postseason disappointments, however they clearly cannot strategy this offseason pondering all they want is a complementary piece right here or there. Life isn’t straightforward within the Western Convention and the Kings have to do one thing to take the following step.

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