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Kings vs. Pelicans Preview: Boogie on down

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The Kings look to take one back against DeMarcus Cousins and the Pelicans after giving up a double digit lead earlier this season.

Kimani Okearah

The Kings almost ruined DeMarcus Cousins’ return to Sacramento earlier this season by dropping 40 points on the Pelicans in the first quarter and 70 in the half, their best half of the season by far. Unfortunately they only scored 36 in the entire second half and Cousins proved too good to stop down the stretch. Now the Kings are in his house, looking for some revenge of their own.

When: Friday, December 8th; 5:00 pm PST

Where: Smoothie King Center

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

Has DeMarcus Cousins become the guy in New Orleans already? Cousins is leading New Orleans in scoring (25.9 points), rebounds (12.6), steals (1.6) and blocks (1.7) while being up there in assists as well (5.1). In Anthony Davis’ recent absence, Cousins has stepped up even more, averaging 32.3 points and 13.7 rebounds as New Orleans has gone 2-1. Overall, they’re 3-1 this season without Davis.

All that being said, I’m still glad the Kings aren’t having to face the Pelicans with their two headed monster. Davis might not be as well rounded an offensive player as Cousins, but he’s far more efficient, and he’s a terror on the other end of the floor with his massive wingspan. Both players are among the very best at their position, and they’re on the same team.

The experiment has been working so far, as New Orleans is solidly in the playoff hunt at 13-12, a half game ahead of the Jazz who are in the eight spot and only a half game behind the Nuggets and Blazers who are tied for fifth. Alvin Gentry has the Pelicans running, but not so fast as George Karl tried to do. The recent addition of Rajon Rondo to the starting lineup has moved Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, and Rondo has become the primary playmaker. Interestingly enough, Rondo hasn’t gotten to the free throw line all season. He’s never gotten to the line a ton, but that’s still surprising.

The last time these two teams played, it was Cousins that finished the Kings off, but it was backup Point Guard Jameer Nelson who kept the Pelicans in the game. Nelson is one of the few good shooters the Pelicans have, and he keeps the game running when he comes off the bench.

While JaKarr Sampson made his first start as a King on Wednesday against Cleveland, don’t be surprised if the Kings try a different look against the Pelicans, perhaps starting Kosta Koufos to go up against his former teammate. Koufos is Sacramento’s best post defender, and with Willie Cauley-Stein out, the Kings don’t have a ton of size.

Prediction:

DeMarcus Cousins had his revenge game in Sacramento earlier this season, now it’s time for Buddy Hield to shine. Buddy drops 82 points, one more than Kobe’s record, and the Kings easily crush New Orleans.

Kings 169, Pelicans 94