December 8, 2017, 1:26 pm
The Kings will play their fourth and final game of their current road trip Friday night when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Kings and Pelicans met back in October in Sacramento with the Pelicans ultimately winning that game 114-106. The Kings carried a big lead into halftime, but a 41 point, 23 rebound performance from DeMarcus Cousins helped carry the Pelicans in the victory.
The Kings’ ability to get out in front of the Pelicans early in that game is an encouraging sign, but it should be remembered that the Pelicans were playing without Anthony Davis. Davis has missed the team’s last three games with a left adductor strain and is currently listed as questionable for the game Friday night. Davis’ availability will have a big impact on the way that the Kings approach the game, but the team should have a decent shot at the win either way.
Sacramento has been able to keep the score close in all of their games on the current trip, but the team still sits with a 1-2 record over that stretch. A win Friday night and a 2-2 record on the road trip would be a big boost for the team heading back to Sacramento.
- Cousins is a difficult player for any team in the league to defend, but the Kings’ lack of size makes him a particularly big challenge. Georgios Papagiannis may get the opportunity to try and stop Cousins, but it is more likely that the team will primarily rely on Zach Randolph and JaKarr Sampson. Sampson has shown in recent games that he can defend and rebound at a high level, but this will easily be his biggest test yet.
- Stopping Cousins should be the Kings’ primary focus in the game, but the Pelicans are far from a one-dimensional team offensively. The Pelicans have plenty of capable distributors on the roster, and as a team they’re averaging 25.6 assist per-100 possessions this season, putting them second in the NBA behind Golden State. Cousins will almost certainly draw a second defender on a regular basis, but the Kings need to put pressure on players like Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo as well.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – George Hill
SF – Garrett Temple
PF – Zach Randolph
C – JaKarr Sampson
Harry Giles (knee) – OUT
Willie Cauley-Stein (left adductor strain)- OUT
HOW TO WATCH
When: 5:00 p.m. PST (8:00 p.m. EST)
Where: NBC Sports California