The Kings are coming off a lackluster performance against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday evening and they are playing short-handed. De’Aaron Fox went down with a stiff back against New Orleans and he joins Willie Cauley-Stein on the injured list.
Orlando is coming off a weird loss in LA on Wednesday. A clock malfunction, followed by an incorrect ruling by the officiating crew cost the Magic an opportunity to go ahead with 0.6 seconds remaining. The Magic have decided not to appeal the loss.
Kings by 3
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Justin Jackson vs. Jonathan Simmons -- Aaron Gordon versus Skal Labissiere would have been fun to watch. So would Bogdan Bogdanovic against Evan Fournier. But Orlando’s injury list is peculiar to say the least and changes the matchup to watch considerably. Jackson put up a solid performance last time out and Simmons is a tough cover. These two should have a good time going at each other for long stretches Friday evening.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 20-45, last place in Pacific
Magic: 20-45, last place in Southeast
Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox (lower back stiffness) out, C Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back strain) out, SF/SG Iman Shumpert (left knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.
Magic: D.J. Augustin (ankle) questionable, PF Aaron Gordon (concussion) out, SF Evan Fournier (knee) out, SG Terrence Ross (knee) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
20-20 -- After facing a red-hot playoff team in the Pelicans on Wednesday, the Sacramento Kings host a team struggling to finish out the year. Like the Kings, the Magic have just 20 wins on the season. They have plenty of young players, but they seem well behind the Kings in their current rebuild.
What could have been... -- The Kings passed on rookie forward Jonathan Isaac on draft night, choosing Fox instead. So far, the decision looks like the right one. Fox is quickly developing into a leader for the Kings and Isaac has struggled to find court time.
Super Mario -- Mario Hezonja went the pick ahead of Willie Cauley-Stein in the 2015 NBA Draft. Orlando made the decision to not pick up his fourth year option and that may have been premature. The 23-year-old wing posted 15.5 points and five rebounds a game in the month of February and rumors have the Kings interested in him during the offseason.
The Kings and Magic split the season series 1-1 last season and hold a 1-0 advantage this year. Sacramento leads 30-27 all-time over Orlando.