With tonight's game in New Orleans, the Kings begin a stretch of five games in which their opponents have a combined record of 51-16. The Pelicans are coming in a little banged up but did just beat the Kings in Sacramento a week ago. Tonight's action tips off at 5:00 pm tonight on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.
3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR
1. The Pelicans are once again going to be without Center Omer Asik, meaning they have very little big man depth to guard DeMarcus Cousins. Last week, the Pelicans countered this a little bit by playing zone defense, but Cousins was still able to score 24 points on 10 of 18 shooting. This time New Orleans will also be without guard Eric Gordon, who suffered a shoulder injury earlier this week. With Gordon out the Pelicans will likely move Tyreke Evans to Shooting Guard and start either John Salmons or Luke Babbitt at Small Forward which should create a matchup advantage for Sacramento. The Kings are dealing with some nagging injuries themselves however, as Rudy Gay, Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions are all listed as questionable to play. Gay's been listed as questionable a lot the past week due to his achilles tendinitis but has yet to miss a game because of it. We'll have more clarity on the status of Sacramento's players before the game starts.
2. The Kings probably should have beaten the Pelicans at home last week, but a strong third quarter by New Orleans in which they outscored Sacramento 31 to 15 completely changed the outcome of the game. Sacramento's defense completely fell apart as each of New Orleans' points either came from beyond the three point line or right by the rim. Tyreke Evans, who was a non-factor in the first half, scored 18 points in the 2nd half and Ryan Anderson continuously got open beyond the arc. It could have been even worse than it was too, as Anderson was just 4-12 from beyond the three point line (with three of those makes coming in that third quarter).
3. Derrick Williams has been seeing playing time lately and he's been doing well too. The Kings will need him to continue to be aggressive off the bench and take advantage of what will likely be a matchup advantage against someone like Salmons, Babbitt or Anderson. That means not settling for jumpers and attacking the rim, the only place where he's proven he can score consistently in his career.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Jason Thompson vs. Anthony Davis
In last week's game against the Pelicans, Jason Thompson started off on Anthony Davis and did a pretty good job on both ends of the court. However, Coach Malone ended up going with Omri Casspi over Thompson down the stretch, and while Casspi was providing a scoring punch, I think the Kings missed the defense that Thompson provided. Tonight I think we'll see a lot more Jason Thompson so as to try to contain Anthony Davis a little bit better.
Ryan Anderson exists to create a spark,
lighting it up from beyond the arc.
don't stand pat,
and make him miss the mark.
Kings 106, Pelicans 100 because that's the opposite of what happened last week and I like symmetry.