March 31, 2017, 11:51 am
The Sacramento Kings head to New Orleans Friday night to start off a quick two-game roadtrip. This will be the team’s first visit to New Orleans since the trade of DeMarcus Cousins.
There will be plenty of discussion surrounding the trade heading into the game, but there are still some interesting playoff implications. The Kings have been eliminated from contention, but the Pelicans are still fighting for the final spot in the Western Conference.
Beyond that, it will surely be an interesting game for Cousins, who has never faced the Kings in his career. Cousins’ time in New Orleans has produced some mixed results to this point, but he has still been able to dominate from time to time. While his focus will likely be primarily on winning, it certainly won’t be like most games for him.
Here are some notes heading into the matchup:
- DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis present huge matchup problems for the Kings, and Cousins is likely a bigger issue than Davis. Cousins is one of the most physical players in the league, and the Kings don’t have much strength up front to contain him. Kosta Koufos could prove to be the best option for guarding him, but even then he’s sure to present problems. Finding the best solution to guarding Cousins early will be a key for the Kings tonight.
- While Cousins was the highest-profile player in the trade, Buddy Hield will also be facing the team that drafted him for the first time. Hield has been dramatically better since arriving in Sacramento, and will likely want to flaunt some of that during the game. The Pelicans are fairly thin on the perimeter, so Hield should have a good chance at a big night.
While the team was officially eliminated from the playoffs, there is still plenty to play for tonight. The Pelicans are fighting an uphill battle to try to get into the postseason, and the Kings certainly won’t roll over and make it easy.