NEW ORLEANS (AP) Sacramento rookie Keegan Murray could be the face of the Kings' remarkable reversal of fortune.

Murray has heard all about the club's recently ended, 16-season playoff drought. But his only season with the Kings now includes a first division title in two decades - and his scoring has been no small part of that.

De’Aaron Fox scored 23 points, Murray added 21 on seven 3-pointers, and the Kings beat the New Orleans Pelicans 121-103 on Tuesday night to clinch the Pacific Division title - their first such title since the 2002-03 season.

“I'm excited for this organization," said Murray, who was drafted fourth overall out of Iowa last summer. "It's really cool for the city.”

Domantas Sabonis had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Kings, who took the lead for good late in the first quarter and led by as many as 24 points in the second half.

“The physicality that we brought to the game tonight, starting with the starting five, was really good," Kings coach Mike Brown said. “I also thought our pace was good. ... We put pressure on them play after play after play. That's how we play offensively."

Brandon Ingram scored 22 points and Trey Murphy III had 17 for the Pelicans (40-39), who entered the game knowing they could guarantee themselves sixth place in the Western Conference if they won their final four games.

Now New Orleans is more likely destined for a play-in spot that goes to teams finishing seventh through 10th. But they have yet to clinch even that, needing one more victory or a loss by Dallas, which next plays on Wednesday.

The Kings “just beat us to a lot of the hustle stats, getting out on us in transition, second-chance opportunities and then the 3 ball," Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “It’s not a great game for us and we have to bounce back quick.”

Malik Monk scored 17 and Harrison Barnes 16 points for the Kings (48-31), who remained 1 1/2 games behind Memphis (49-29) for the second seed in the West.

Murray hit five 3s during the third quarter, when the Kings opened up a 17-point lead. It was his third straight game with 18 or more points.

“I felt like I’ve been getting a lot of good looks lately," Murray said. "They were finding me in the third quarter and I was able to knock down shots.”

Fox hit 10 of 23 shots and also had nine assists.

“They have shooters all across the floor; you have to worry about every single person," Murphy said. “They have a guard (in Fox) who is as quick as lightning and can score the ball. It’s tough. They put you in help situations and they’re making you pay when they’re kicking it out to shooters and they’re hitting. It’s going to be a tough night when they’re hitting those shots.”


Kings: Sabonis has 13 triple-doubles this season. ... Murray now has hit 201 3-pointers this season and has scored 20 or more points in 13 games. ... Kevin Huerter scored 11 points. ... Shot 50.5% (46 of 91), including 17 of 42 (40.5%) from 3-point range. .... Outrebounded New Orleans 43-37.

Pelicans: Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points, CJ McCollum and rookie Dyson Daniels each scored 12 points and Herbert Jones scored 11. ... Still need two more victories in their last three games to finish with a winning regular season record for the first time since 2017-18, when they went 48-34.


Kings: At Dallas on Wednesday.

Pelicans: Host Memphis on Wednesday.


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