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Kings vs Pelicans Preview: Playing Hard in the Big Easy

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The Kings are on the last leg of their road trip and are prepared to face a New Orleans squad still reeling from the loss of DeMarcus Cousins.

Kimani Okearah

New Orleans! A city so overflowing with vibrancy and festivity that they’ve had to resort to using their sewers to store an extra forty-six and a half TONS of Mardi Gras beads in case of a major party foul. Well, Pelican’s breax, it might be time to whip out those beads a couple weeks early; Boogie Cousins is out for the season, the world is closer to ending than becoming a Utopia and maybe you didn’t hear me the first time but DEMARCUS COUSINS IS OUT FOR THE SEASON. I know what your thinking. You want to crawl down into that sewer pipe like a kid killing clown, and start a new life with the sewer beads. But, don’t despair just yet! The Kings are in town, their starting center is injured and the team as a whole is so wildly inconsistent that their coach left the road trip early and blames it on dizzy spells! Tomorrow maybe tough, your mascots are still terrifying and the oceans are rising uncomfortably quick, but tonight, you play the Kings. Things are good.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Tuesday, January 30th; 5:00 pm PST

Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 am

For Your Consideration

Losers in nine of their last eleven games, the Kings come into the last game of their season’s longest road trip searching for that even elusive consistency, an intangible that a team with so many young guys is just never going to find. De’Aaron Fox is coming off a game where he splashed six three pointers in six attempts. That single stunt alone brought his season percentages up like 6% to the league average of 36%. The same game, two fantastic shooters in Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic went a combined 1-12 from the field, but two weeks ago it was Bogdanovic going six-for-six from beyond the arc. I guess the point I was eventually getting to was this: the roller coaster of performances from the Kings young ones won’t be stopping anytime soon.

So tonight, against a team as banged-up and unevenly balanced as the Pelicans are, whatever your expectations for Schrödinger’s Kings are will probably be proven wrong and primarily because you decided to actually watch the game. So here’s some facts to settle us. The Pels are winners of eight of their last eleven games, but lost to the Clippers on Sunday night; their first game sans Les Cousins Dangereux. With Boogie out, New Orleans ran a starting group of Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Dante Cleverpig and Anthony Davis and this have gotten so desperate at the foward/center position that Omer Asik got 7 minutes in a close contest. The Pelicans already give up the second most points in the NBA at 110.7 a game, and while DeMarcus dragging his feet after on no-call on the offensive end is something that Kings fans are more than accustomed too, the Pelicans did not suddenly become a better defensive team with his unfortunate absence. The Kings are going to be able to score tonight, and other than Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have no one on the team that is heads and tails above what the Kings are putting out there on the floor. The Pelicans start a lineup of two point guards, a shooting guard, a small forward and The Brow and while their pace will probably stay in the NBA’s top five tonight, they’ll have to contend with all their own. YMCA superstar Zach Randolph in the post is a problem for the Pelicans, De’Aaron Fox in the open court is a problem for Rajon Rondo, the King Cake Baby can’t hide from the UN Security Council forever. These are all issues the Pels have to contend with, and have no Boogie for back-up.

Believe it or not, the Kings have a decent shot tonight against New Orleans. They need to continue to toss more threes at the rim, need to rebound better but tonight, the entire game is predicated on the play of Anthony Davis. He’ll drag the entire team to a win if given the opportunity, but if Kosta Koufos, Georgios Papagiannis and the like can contain him, the Kings can find a way to wriggle out a win. If Davis goes down with an injury, this team is a bottom 3 team in the Western Conference, but with him they’ve still got a good shot at keeping their playoff positioning. The bigger the game for the Brow, the bigger then chance you’re watching Property Brother’s by the third quarter.

Prediction: Tonight’s game is all about the Kings best center and most important asset; Kosta Koufos. The guy grabs 10 rebounds in the first half, tosses floaters over Anthony Davis all night, boxes out hard, sets screens hard, man does he just do all the right things. He even strokes three three’s in the game, but all Kings fans know that he’s shown that range over the years. Singlehandedly he beats the Pelicans and locks down Anthony Davis unlike anything Davis has ever seen in the NBA. The Pelicans decide they need someone with a much stronger jaw than whatever Euro the Bulls can throw at them, and they make the right decision, trading Omer Asik and a first for Koufos. The Pelicans don’t regret the trade, and end up winning a championship because of their forward thinking front office who were smart, and clever and definitely swindlers of the Kings best talents. Man, do the Kings get bamboozled again.

Kings: 106, Pelicans: 101