DeMarcus Cousins scored 28 points and added 14 rebounds and seven assists as Sacramento beat New Orleans, 105-99.
Darren Collison chipped in 20 points and eight assists for the Kings, who won for the third consecutive time and closed a 4-2 homestand that began with a buzzer-beater loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Anthony Davis scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Pelicans. The game turned late in the first half when officials ejected Pelicans guard Buddy Hield after a flagrant-2 foul. Hield tried to move around a screen set by Cousins and grabbed the Kings forward in the groin and appeared to squeeze.
After the game, Hield maintained that the play was unintentional; he sometimes uses a defender’s hip to get around a screen, but in this case, his right hand missed the mark.
“It was just one of those plays where the hand ended up in the wrong place,” Hield said. “There was nothing intentional. After that, DeMarcus sold it. The refs reviewed it, and when you (watch) in slow motion, it looks worse than what it is. But if it was intentional, knowing DeMarcus’ personality, he would’ve (confronted) me and made a big fuss about it. So I know it was not intentional.”
Hield expressed shock on the court by the decision to rule the play a flagrant foul, later saying, “I’ve never been in this position. I’ve never had a technical in a game. I’ve never been in the situation before where I was ejected. I was mad, because the refs took away a half of basketball from me, a half where I could’ve helped my teammates and try to get a win.”
Coach Alvin Gentry dodged a question about Hield's ejection.
“I’m not going to respond to that, because all I’ll do is get myself in trouble. So I’ll just leave that alone.”
“We had an opportunity (to win), Gentry said. "We had a couple late turnovers that hurt. I thought we played hard and competed at a real high level. It’s a tough loss, because I thought the guys left everything out there."