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Kings season ends after 105-98 loss to Pelicans in play-in

NEW ORLEANS — The Sacramento Kings had one last chance to punch their ticket to the playoffs, but their season has now come to an end following a 105-98 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament on Friday night.

Sacramento didn't have an answer for New Orleans all game. In fact, including this game, Sacramento was 0-6 against New Orleans on the season.

De'Aaron Fox scored 35 points for Sacramento, and Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 14 rebounds.  

Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and 12 rebounds. New Orleans moves on to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

The Pelicans won without leading-scorer Zion Williamson, who strained his left hamstring right as he reached the 40-point mark in a play-in loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Undaunted, New Orleans used a balanced approach to improve to 8-5 this season without Williamson in the lineup. Six players scored 10 or more points, including reserves Larry Nance Jr. (13), Naji Marshall (11) and Jose Alvarado (10).

New Orleans lost to the Lakers in their regular-season finale on Sunday, missing a chance to lock up the sixth seed, before losing again to the Lakers on Tuesday. They entered their matchup with the Kings facing the possibility of becoming the first 49-win team in more than 50 years (Phoenix in 1972) to miss the NBA playoffs.

The Pelicans were sloppy early, committing six first-quarter turnovers that led to 11 Kings points. Sacramento led 24-17 after a turnover by Herb Jones led to a layup by Fox, who scored 18 points in the first half.

McCollum's reverse layup and Murphy's 3 helped the Pelicans quickly close the gap, and New Orleans built a 13-point lead in the second quarter.

Marshall gave the Pelicans a jolt with a 3 and a steal from Keegan Murray that he converted into a breakaway dunk. Murray appeared to hurt himself when he fell while losing the ball, and went to the locker room shortly after.

That development further thinned the depth of a Kings squad already missing Malik Monk (right knee) and Kevin Huerter (left shoulder).

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