Kings vs. Pelicans Preview: The calm before the 7 game road trip

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

There's only one home game left before the Kings hit the road for a couple weeks, and it's a winnable one.

The Kings play the New Orleans Pelicans in Sacramento tonight (7:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California, NBA TV and KHTK 1140) in their last home game before a season-long 7 game road trip.  The Kings have a good chance to get some momentum going into the trip, as both the Pelicans and the next game (against Milwaukee) offer decent chances of victory.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

DeMarcus Cousins vs. Anthony Davis

One was named an All-Star and one wasn't and I'm sure DeMarcus is going to come out wanting to prove something because of it.  Cousins and Davis are two of the best big men in the league already, and they're just 23 and 21 (in a week) respectively.  Davis and Cousins likely won't go up against each other directly, although if they did, I'd have to give the advantage to Cousins, at least for now.  Davis does lead the league in blocks at 3 a game, and though he has a reputation for defense, he's still managing to put up 20 points a game on over 50% from the field.  Man, I wish we had won the lottery the year he came out, because he and Cousins would be unstoppable together.

3 THINGS

1.  The Pelicans have had even worse struggles than the Kings have of late, losing 7 straight and 9 of their last 10.  During this losing streak they've averaged just 92.9 points while giving up 105.3.  They're the 29th ranked defense in the league (Sacramento is 25th but the difference is negligible).  They are however the 11th best offense, so if the Kings don't try on defense, a win won't come easily.

2.  The Pelicans have almost the opposite problem of the Kings at Shooting Guard.  Right now the only Shooting Guards the Kings have are rookie Ben McLemore and 10-day signee Orlando Johnson.   The Pelicans have the theoretically terrifying duo of Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.  Both have different strengths, but there's no question that they're better than Sacramento's swingmen.  Slowing those guys down will have to be a team effort.  The Pelicans do much better when Tyreke is on his game: in wins, he's shooting 46.1%, while in losses that drops all the way to 35.6%.

3.  New Orleans hasn't had an answer for DeMarcus in their first two games this season, but it was Rudy Gay that really made the difference in the last game.  Rudy went off for 41 points in that matchup, and the Kings blew out the Pelicans by 17 on their home court.  In the first game in which the Kings lost, Rudy scored just 11 points on 2-12 from the field.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Remember Tyreke?
He used to be our future.
My, how things have changed.

PREDICTION

Kings 113, Pelicans 104 and Slamson beats up Pierre the Pelican for good measure.

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