After long week-and-a-half, the Sacramento Kings finish their season-long six-game road trip in New Orleans Tuesday night. The Kings will face a Pelicans team reeling from the loss of All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his Achilles tendon on Friday evening.
Sacramento is coming off a competitive loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Rookie De’Aaron Fox went off for a career-high 26 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from behind the arc. The Kings need more nights like this from their prized young point guard.
New Orleans had just started to figure things out before Cousins’ injury. They still sit in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race, but they’ll need to make major adjustments if they hope to remain in contention.
Pelicans by 8
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Bogdan Bogdanovic vs. Jrue Holiday -- Bogdanovic has become one the Kings' most reliable performers in his first season in the league. He starts at the shooting guard spot, but Dave Joerger uses him in a variety of different ways, including as a primary playmaker in the offense. Holiday has moved to the two this season to make way for newcomer Rajon Rondo. With Cousins going down for the season, Holiday needs to crank up his scoring numbers if the Pelicans are going to remain relevant.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 15-34, fifth place in Pacific
Pelicans: 27-22, third place in Southwest
Kings: De’Aaron Fox (calf) probable, Garrett Temple (ankle) probable, Malachi Richardson (ankle) out, PF Skal Labissiere (shoulder strain) out, C Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back strain) out, PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.
Pelicans: C DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) out, SG Tony Allen (fibula) out, Alexis Ajinca (knee) out, Solomon Hill (hamstring) out, Frank Jackson (right foot) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
The Brow -- Cousins is out, but Anthony Davis is still roaming the paint for New Orleans. With Willie Cauley-Stein on the shelf for at least another game, Kosta Koufos and Zach Randolph will get a look against the All-Star big.
Finish Strong -- Six-game road trips are no joke. The Kings have been away for nearly two weeks, but they have an opportunity to finish 3-3 on the stretch. The young players continue to show new wrinkles as they grow as a unit. Every game is an chance to grow.
Get Healthy -- Labissiere, Cauley-Stein, Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson all missed the San Antonio game. Labissiere, Cauley-Stein, and Richardson have already been ruled out by the Kings’ medical staff, while Temple is probable. It wouldn’t hurt to have one him back against a strong Pelicans team.
The season series is all tied up at 1-1 after Sacramento shocked the Pelicans at the Smoothie Kings Center on dec. 8. New Orleans holds a 42-39 lead in the all-time series between these two clubs.