• The Kings topped off a six-game road trip with a 114-103 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans. Sacramento finished their season-long road trip with a 3-3 record, an impressive feat that the kids can be proud of.

    It was a closely contested first quarter with both teams sharing the lead throughout. De’Aaron Fox picked up where he left off after his career-high 26 points against the Spurs, dropping nine points on 4-of-6 shooting in the quarter. Fox showed off his hops yet again tonight, with another dazzling put back slam.

    Turnovers were the story of the first quarter with each team giving the ball away four times a piece. The difference? Sacramento only had two points off those four turnovers, compared to New Orleans who had seven points off the Kings’ turnovers. The Pelicans had a 29-25 lead after 12 minutes.

    Moving into the second quarter and both teams were relying on offense to give them an advantage. There was little resistance on both ends leading to a closely contested first half. The Kings were getting up more shots than the Pelicans but New Orleans were making theirs at a higher rate.

    The Pelicans were shooting 61.0 percent compared to 47.1 percent for the Kings through 24 minutes. And while both teams had hit six 3-pointers each, the Pelicans were shooting at a 60.0 percent clip from outside (6-of-10) with Sacramento sitting at 37.5 percent (6-of-16).

    Eight offensive rebounds and nine first half turnovers (15-0 advantage in second chance points) were a couple of reasons why the Kings had more opportunities to score the basketball, however, they still trailed 62-61 heading into the third quarter.

    The Kings came out strong in the opening moments of the second half, going on a 6-0 run leading to a Pelicans timeout. Bogdan Bogdanovic finally got it going, knocking down his first two shots of the game during that stretch. Minutes later a Bogdanovic 3-pointer gave the Kings their largest lead of the game, 81-70 midway through the third.

    Sacramento had a chance to take a commanding lead into the final quarter but they let their foot off the gas in the final two minutes of the third. They had a five-point lead after three quarters, nonetheless.

    Fox continued to do his thing during the third quarter and was a big reason why the Kings were able to go up by a game-high 11 points at one stage, however, when Elston Turner took him out with a few minutes left in the quarter, the offense and defensive intensity disappeared.

    The lineup of George Hill, Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple, Vince Carter, and Georgios Papagiannis wasn’t effective tonight. They were giving up a ton of open looks on the perimeter and weren’t showing much resistance to the Pelicans’ bench unit. It looked like a lineup that hasn’t spent much time together this season, and that’s because they haven’t. They lacked cohesion on offense too, and it stalled the Kings’ momentum multiple times throughout the game.

    Fox’s inclusion back into the game midway through the fourth quarter helped steady the ship and give the Kings a little more breathing room. Another thing that became clear: DeMarcus Cousins’ absence was taking a toll on the Pelicans down the stretch as Zach Randolph went to work down low and couldn’t be stopped. It was Randolph’s best game in a while and it came at just the right time for Sacramento.

    The Kings managed to turn up the energy down the stretch and it was enough to give them the victory. The win was more so impressive because it was the last game in their six-game road trip, but it certainly didn’t look that way.

    Game Notes

    • Georgios Papagiannis played 11 minutes off the bench tonight, posting two points, two rebounds, four assists and one block. The four assists tied a career-high which is a nice little achievement, however, Papagiannis still looks incredibly raw when he’s on the court and most of the time it’s proving detrimental to the team. He’ll get spot minutes from time-to-time but he’s a long way off a consistent role in the rotation.
    • Sacramento’s starting frontcourt went to work tonight. Zach Randolph tallied 26 points and 12 rebounds while Kosta Koufos dropped 17 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. With youngsters Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein on the sidelines, the veterans stepped up to the plate and worked their magic – they were instrumental in the victory.
    • De’Aaron Fox recorded a tidy stat line and was a difference maker on the court. He managed a 16-6-4-1 line in 27 minutes of work and continues to look better and better each time he takes the court.
    • The Kings had a 49-to-36 advantage on the glass, and a 14-to-2 advantage in offensive boards. This was a major contributing factor to the victory and they held the Pelicans to zero second chance points – a very impressive feat.

    With their six-game road trip in the rear view mirror, the Kings will head home for a date with the Golden State Warriors. Sacramento had one of their most impressive victories this season against the Warriors in Oakland back on November 27, taking down the defending champs 110-106 behind Willie Cauley-Stein’s 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

    The Warriors will come in motivated after getting beaten on their home floor earlier in the season so the Kings will have to try and match that energy, especially on the defensive end. Limiting the amount of 3-point opportunities is one way to nullify the Warriors’ dominance.

    Nonetheless, the team will be happy to be back home in the friendly confines of Golden 1 Center on Friday night.

Fantasy News

  • Evan Turner
    SG, Atlanta Hawks

    Evan Turner (left Achilles pain) is probable to play on Wednesday.

    Turner seemed to aggravate the injury on Sunday, but it appears that he is ready to go. Turner hasn't played more than 17 minutes in a game this season, so he's not a recommended play.

    Source: Mike Conti on Twitter

  • RJ Barrett
    SF, New York Knicks

    David Fizdale confirmed that RJ Barrett will play against the Sixers on Wednesday.

    The rookie wasn’t really in danger of missing any time and he will continue to start and to be one of the few bright spots for the struggling Knicks.

    Source: Chris Iseman on Twitter

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. will return and start on Wednesday in the place of Tristan Thompson who is taking the night off.

    This will be a good opportunity for Nance to make a case for more minutes going forward. Thompson has been off to a great start this year but the Cavs will be smart to scale back his workload.

    Source: Chris Fedor on Twitter

  • Steven Adams
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Nerlens Noel was the Thunder's closing center on Tuesday night while Steven Adams sat on the bench, as Billy Donovan admitted to the big man still being bothered by his knee.

    “Obviously we're dealing with Steven's knee," Billy Donovan said of the decision to close out the game with Noel. "I don't want to say he's on a minutes restriction, but we're trying to be mindful and keep him in a range.” Adams is averaging 26.3 minutes per game, down from 33.4 minutes last season while his scoring has dropped from 13.9 points to 7.8 points per game. And with the knee issues persisting, it might be a good idea to try and move him while Noel has to be stashed as an insurance policy.

    Source: The Oklahoman

  • Jabari Parker
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    Jabari Parker said on Wednesday morning that he is most likely playing tonight, even though he is being listed as questionable due to right shoulder pain.

    Jabari has been returning borderline top-30 value the last couple weeks with John Collins sidelined due to a suspension. He doesn’t seem to be in danger of missing tonight’s game but we should wait for another update closer to tip-off.

    Source: Chris Kirschner on Twitter

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Luke Walton said on Tuesday that Marvin Bagley is scheduled to be re-evaluated on Wednesday and he will accompany the team on a four-game East Coast road trip that starts on Friday.

    Bagley has been out since suffering a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb in the opening night. The Kings initially said that Bagley would be out four to six weeks and today will mark the four-week mark for the 20-year-old power forward who has gotten increasingly more physical in on-court workouts over the past several days. The buy-low window is rapidly closing and it will be interesting to see how the Kings use him once he is ready to return. Just make sure he is not sitting on any waiver wires.

    Source: Sacramento Bee

  • Zylan Cheatham
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have transferred two-way players Zylan Cheatham and Josh Gray to the Erie BayHawks of the G League on Wednesday.

    Both of them had joined the Pelicans recently due to a myriad injuries that decimated the team’s depth.

    Source: Pelicans PR on Twitter

  • Josh Magette
    PG, Orlando Magic

    With Michael Carter-Williams sidelined with what the team has labeled left hip "irritation," the Magic have had point guard Josh Magette, who is on a two-way contract, join the team on its current road trip.

    Magette has played really well in the G League so far this year but he will provide nothing more than insurance depth behind Markelle Fultz and D.J. Augustin.

    Source: Josh Robbins on Twitter

  • Jonathan Isaac
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Steve Clifford said on Wednesday morning that, unless an unforeseen setback occurs during shootaround, Jonathan Isaac is on track to play tonight against the Raptors.

    Isaac has missed the Magic’s last two games because of a sprained right ankle that happened at a team event. We should probably get another update later today but owners should prepare to have Isaac back tonight. Al-Farouq Aminu played well in his absence and it will be interesting to see whether Clifford can manufacture more playing time for the Nigerian forward.

    Source: Josh Robbins on Twitter

  • Russell Westbrook
    PG, Houston Rockets

    The Rockets have become a considerably more effective fast-breaking team this season, but the improved pace could also be helping their halfcourt offense.

    Houston is eighth in the NBA in fast-break points per game this season with 14.9, an increase from 19th last season when the team averaged 12.0 fast break points. They also have the top-ranked offense in the league, averaging 112.7 points per 100 possessions, in part because they have gotten into their halfcourt sets much quicker. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni credits the increase in pace to the addition of Westbrook who seems to be blending nicely with James Harden so far.

    Source: Houston Chronicle