NEW ORLEANS -- The Sacramento Kings continue their late season five-game road with a stop at the Smoothie King Center Thursday night. They'll face a struggling New Orleans Pelicans team that's focused on surviving a rough season in the Big Easy.
De'Aaron Fox came through big in the Kings' win over the Mavericks Tuesday evening in Dallas. The second-year point guard torched the Mavs for 10 of his team-high 23 points in the final five minutes of the game to lead Sacramento to a 125-121 victory. The win pushed the Kings back to the .500 mark at 37-37 on the season.
New Orleans is spiraling the drain in the home stretch. They've dropped three straight and nine of their last 10 games and currently sit at 31-45 on the season. The midseason trade request from star big man Anthony Davis has put this franchise on a dark path.
Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 4:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:00 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
The Kings finish off their five-game road trip with a brutal back-to-back in Houston and San Antonio on Saturday and Sunday before returning home to face the Rockets again on Tuesday.
Kings by 4.5
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Harrison Barnes
PF Nemanja Bjelcia
C Willie Cauley-Stein
PG Elfrid Payton
SG Cheick Diallo
SF Kenrich Williams
PF Julius Randle
C Anthony Davis
C Harry Giles (thigh bruise) out.
C Anthony Davis (back) probable, PG Elfrid Payton (wrist) probable, SG/SF E'Twaun Moore (thigh contusion) out, PG Jrue Holiday (core muscle) out, G Trevon Bluiett (thumb) out, PG Frank Jackson (concussion) out.
Dave Joerger's crew has already shown a 10-game improvement over last season's win total, but they have dreams of finishing the season at or above the .500 mark. With a difficult weekend schedule, they'll need a victory over the Pelicans to give themselves a fighting chance.
Harry Giles is out for a fourth consecutive game with a thigh contusion. The injury is not considered serious and the team has not shut the rookie down for the remainder of the season.
With the Stockton Kings' season ending on Wednesday evening, the Sacramento Kings have recalled Cody Demps and Caleb Swanigan back to the parent club. Demps signed a 10-day contract on March 22nd and is attempting to become the first Sacramento State player to play in an NBA game. Both players are expected to arrive in New Orleans Thursday evening, but there is no word if either will be in uniform for the Kings.
Alvin Gentry's group is dealing with plenty of injuries down the stretch, although it appears that big man Anthony Davis is available to play against the Kings.
Julius Randle is having a very nice season with New Orleans after joining the team over the summer. He's posting 21 points and 8.6 rebounds in 30.5 minutes per game. The 24-year-old has a player option at $9 million for next season and is likely heading back into the free agency pool looking for a big-time payday.
New Orleans can really score the ball, posting the league's third most points per game at 115.4 per game. They push the tempo, ranking third in pace and they come into the night as the NBA's third best rebounding team. On the defensive end, they aren't good. The Pelicans give up 116.3 points per game and rank 23rd in defensive rating.