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Kings vs. Pelicans Preview: Can Sacramento finally beat New Orleans?

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Kimani Okearah

One of the teams the Kings have really struggled with this season that they probably shouldn't be is the same team they're facing tonight, the New Orleans Pelicans.  In their last matchup, the Kings lost despite the Pelicans missing four starters to injury, including Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans.  The Pelicans are better than their record indicates, but the Kings need to take advantage of these type of situations.  Tip-off's at 5:00 pm Pacific and you can listen to it on KHTK 1140 or watch it on CSN-California.

Three Things

1. Can the Kings find an answer for Ryan Anderson?  Anderson has been a big problem for the Kings this season, with almost everything the Kings throwing at him not working.  In their last matchup, Anderson scored 30 points... in the first half alone.  The Kings need to be more aggressive in defending Anderson and not allowing him good clean looks from the three point line.  There's a lot of statistical evidence that he's best shooting threes from the top right of the arc, so keep him off that area.

ryan anderson shot chart

(Shot chart courtesy of Vorped.com)

2. Don't let the bench beat you.  In both losses to the Pelicans this season the Kings have let the lesser known players pour it on.  Norris Cole dropped 18 points in the first meeting and followed it up with 17 in the second. Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 14.  Alonzo Gee added 10.  The Kings already are going to have a tough time dealing with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson. Don't let these other guys beat you too.

3. No lapses.  The Kings had a real shot at beating the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday but they let things get out of hand in the third quarter where they only scored 13 points to the Spurs' 29.  This has been a reoccuring theme all season in which the Kings play well for large parts of the game only for a bad five minute stretch that ends up being the difference at the end of the game.

Prediction

Kings 109, Pelicans 101 as DeMarcus Cousins proves too much to handle and the Kings finally manage to slow down the Pelicans' supporting cast.