SACRAMENTO -- The end is near. After a breakout season by the Sacramento Kings, we are down to just two games remaining on the 2018-19 schedule. At 39-41, the Kings need a strong finish to reach the .500 mark for the first time since the 2005-06 season. They'll face the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday evening looking for win No. 40.
Sacramento struggled Thursday against the Jazz. They fell behind 16-1 to start the game and never recovered. Adding to the defeat was a pair of injuries to point guard De'Aaron Fox and reserve center, Kosta Koufos. It appears that Fox is ready to suit up on Sunday evening, but Koufos is likely done for the year and with free agency looming, he may have played his last game for Sacramento.
New Orleans has had a disappointing season this year after making it to the second round of the playoffs a season ago. Turmoil regarding the future of superstar big man Anthony Davis has hurt team chemistry and a series of injuries have the Pelicans at 32-48 on the season.
Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 5:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
The Kings will finish the season with one last road trip to Portland to face the Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Kings by 10
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Harrison Barnes
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Marvin Bagley III
PG Elfrid Payton
SG Cheick Diallo
SF Kenrich Williams
PF Julius Randle
C Anthony Davis
PG De'Aaron Fox (foot) probable, C Harry Giles (thigh bruise) out, C Kosta Koufos (calf) out, C Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) status unknown at this time.
C Anthony Davis (back) probable, SF Stanley Johnson (ankle) out, SG/SF E'Twaun Moore (thigh contusion) out, PG Jrue Holiday (core muscle) out, G Trevon Bluiett (thumb) out, PG Frank Jackson (concussion) out, SF Darius Miller (thigh) out.
With a big Pelicans frontline rolling into Sacramento, the Kings are thin on the frontline. Giles and Koufos have both been ruled out for Sunday's game and there is no early word as to whether Willie Cauley-Stein made it back to the team over the weekend after missing Thursday's game to attend to a personal issue.
If Cauley-Stein is still away from the team, expect rookie Marvin Bagley III to get a second straight start at the center position.
With 597 made 3-pointers over his first three seasons in the league, Buddy Hield is now just two away from tying and three away from breaking Damian Lillard's NBA record of 599 makes through his first three seasons.
Frank Mason posted eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in nine minutes against the Jazz. The second-year guard has played in just 37 games this season after seeing action in 52 games as a rookie.
Anthony Davis is listed as probable, but he was also listed as probable last week when the Kings were in New Orleans. The six-time All-Star has sat the last six games and there is no early word on whether he'll actually put on a uniform and play on Sunday.
Randle destroyed the Kings last time these teams faced off, finishing with 34 points and 11 rebounds. The 24-year-old is averaging 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in his first season with the Pelicans. He has a player option at $9 million for next season, which he is likely to opt out of this summer.
New Orleans has dropped three straight and they are 2-12 over their last 14 games. One of those two victories came over the Kings last week at the Smoothie King Center.