Brown apologizes to Kings fans for ‘lack of fight' in loss to Pelicans

Brown apologizes to Kings fans for ‘lack of fight' in loss to Pelicans originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Once again, the Kings were left stunned and without answers following their third double-digit loss to the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2023-24 NBA season.

Sacramento's 133-100 loss to New Orleans on Sunday at Golden 1 Center was so bad, in fact, that coach Mike Brown issued an apology to the Kings fans in attendance for the game.

"Not much to say they, they flat out kicked our behinds," Brown told reporters following Sunday's loss.

"One thing I do say, I feel sorry for the fans that spend their money coming to watch the game today," Brown said. "For us to perform that way, and the lack of fight to get back into the game, stay in the game, however you want to call it, was nonexistent. And it's going to be tough scoring when you have Keegan [Murray], [De'Aaron] Fox and Malik [Monk] going a combined 5-for-29. It's going to be a tough night.

"So give New Orleans a lot of credit, they came in here, and they just flat-out kicked our ass and did it for four quarters. And at the end of the day, like I said, give them all credit, and I'm sorry Sacramento fans for coming and spending your money today."

Sacramento got ran out of the gym early and often in Sunday's blowout loss, with New Orleans outscoring the Kings by double-digits in each of the first three quarters of the game. After trailing by 12 points at the end of the first quarter, the Kings' deficit increased substantially to 25 at halftime and 41 at the end of the third quarter.

A strong effort by the reserve players that pridefully handled the mop-up duty improved the final score line in a game that saw the Kings trail by as much as 50 points on their home floor. It also marked the second time New Orleans has beaten Sacramento by over 30 points this season, with the Pelicans already staking claim to the Kings' largest margin of defeat in a 129-93 win back in November.

Adding further salt in the wound was the Pelicans' decisive victory being propelled by an outstanding shooting performance from guard CJ McCollum, where the sharpshooter scored 30 points on 7-for-10 shooting from beyond the 3-point line.

After the game, McCollum revealed that Sacramento had informed the Lehigh product they planned to select him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Kings ultimately passed on taking McCollum, instead selecting guard Ben McLemore, something that the 12-year NBA veteran was eager to point out after shooting the lights out at Golden 1 Center on Sunday.

"Yeah, Sacramento was supposed to draft me," McCollum said after the game. "They had me come back for a second workout, actually told me they were going to take me at seven and didn't, so I enjoy playing here."

Domantas Sabonis led the way for Sacramento with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, but the rest of the starters struggled to find any consistency in a game that slipped away as quickly as it began.

De'Aaron Fox finished with just three points in 26 minutes, posting an abysmal 1 of 10 shooting line. It marked the first time Fox was held to a single-digit point total in a regular-season game since October 31, 2022, and matched the lowest point total since the All-NBA guard scored three points in a win over the Chicago Bulls on January 6, 2021.

Keegan Murray and Chris Duarte combined to shoot 2 of 12 from the field, and Sacramento as a team finished the game 38 of 91 from the floor, a paltry 41.8 field goal percentage in a game where their opponent scored buckets at will.

The Kings have suffered their two worst defeats of the season at the hands of the Pelicans and have lost all four contests against New Orleans this season. Sacramento is 21-10 when facing the other 28 teams in the NBA this season, but getting swept in their season series with New Orleans leaves considerable concerns for a team hoping to take the next step in the postseason.