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Kings vs. Pelicans Preview: Third time's the charm

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The Kings are 0 for 2 so far on their road trip. Can they fare better against the Pelicans?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

So far, Sacramento is winless on this short road trip, but they face their best chance at a win tonight in New Orleans (5:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140).  The team is likely to be without Isaiah Thomas yet again, who has missed the last three games with a thigh contusion.  Meanwhile, New Orleans has been playing some of their best basketball all year, thanks to the recent resurgence of Tyreke Evans and the continued dominance of Anthony Davis.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Rudy Gay vs. Tyreke Evans

The Kings have been torched by Evans in almost every single game he's played against them this season, and it's not hard to see why.  Evans excels at getting to the rim, the Kings have no real lockdown perimeter defender or rim protector, and their Shooting Guard is a rookie.  Evans should be dominating.  That's why I think the Kings will likely match up Evans with the longer and taller Rudy Gay.  Gay should be able to keep Evans working on both ends at least.

3 THINGS

1. Anthony Davis is unlikely to play this game because of a sprained ankle, which means the Kings should be even more aggressive at attacking the basket as New Orleans' big man depth is almost nonexistent without him.  DeMarcus Cousins has had a field day against these Pelicans this season, and without Davis, the Pelicans will have to rely a lot on guys like Greg Stiemsma, Alexis Ajinca and rookie Jeff Withey.  Sacramento should attack them early and often.

2. The Kings rookie guards have definitely been improving as the season goes on.  Ray McCallum has been given huge minutes in Thomas' absence, and played perhaps his best game of the year against Dallas on Saturday, scoring 16 points and dishing 8 assists while playing the whole 48 minutes.  Barring a disastrous night on high volume, Ben will likely finish with his first month at above 40% shooting from the field, a good sign as the season has progressed.  He shot 50% from three in his last three games on 16 attempts.

3. New Orleans could be without Eric Gordon as well tonight, as he's missed the last several games.  It's actually been quite amazing that New Orleans has won as many games as it has when their injury list has looked like their projected starting lineup for much of the season.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Oh Tyreke Evans,
Why are you a demigod
when you play the Kings?

PREDICTION

Kings 108, Pelicans 95 as even Jason Thompson gets in on the fun with a season-high in points against New Orleans weak front line.