LAS VEGAS – Buddy Hield had had enough.
Tired of his slow starts and the Pelicans' Summer League losses, the rookie guard erupted for 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter Monday night, leading New Orleans to a 70-66 win against the Sacramento Kings, its first here.
"I just get fed up, man, fed up losing," Hield said.
In the third quarter, Hield went from fed up to feasting.
For the third straight game, Hield got off to a rough start. He was 2 for 8 in the first half, and 0 for 4 from 3-point range.
But he erupted in the third quarter, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Hield finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and four turnovers in his best Summer League showing so far.
He shot 10 for 23 and made 3 of 12 3-point shots, hardly stellar numbers, particularly from behind the arc. But after shooting 12 for 40 overall in his first two Summer League games, Monday was an improvement.
"I know it was not me (the first two games), to be out there missing too many shots," Hield said.
He looked more like himself, more like the Oklahoma superstar who averaged 25 points a game as a senior, in the third quarter. He pulled up and drained mid-range jumpers. He fired up a heat-check 3 from the right corner that swished.
He slapped hands with Pelicans personnel sitting in the front row, and after he all but sealed the win with a tough floater to beat the shot clock with 38.9 seconds to play in the fourth, he gave a celebratory shout at New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry, who gave one back.
"Coach Gentry's there helping me, guiding me," Hield said. "He said they're not mad at me if I make any bad plays. He said stay within yourself and play the game the right way. I just tried to make plays for my teammates and have fun."