The Sacramento Kings travel to New Orleans to face a familiar face Friday evening at Smoothie King Center. For the first time as an NBA player, All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins will face Sacramento after spending his first six-plus seasons in a Kings uniform.
With Wednesday’s loss against the Utah Jazz and a Portland Trail Blazers win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday, the Kings were officially eliminated from playoff contention. The focus has shifted to a youth movement for Sacramento as they missed the postseason for the 11th consecutive season.
New Orleans is 7-3 over their previous 10 games, but they currently sit five games behind the Trail Blazers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with just seven games remaining in the season.
Pelicans by 10.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Kings vs. DeMarcus Cousins -- Cousins went from the center of the Kings universe both on and off the court, to a Pelican in the blink of an eye. The 6-foot-11 big man wasn’t happy about the way things went down when the Kings changed their mind on a massive contract extension and sent him packing. He’ll look to show Sacramento how big of a mistake they made when he faces off against Kosta Koufos, Willie Cauley-Stein and rookie Giorgios Papagiannis.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 29-46, third place in Pacific
Pelicans: 32-43, fourth place in Southwest
Kings: Kosta Koufos, Ty Lawson and Anthony Tolliver are all out (planned rest).
Pelicans: C Alexis Ajinca (hip) questionable, C Omir Asik (bacterial infection) out, Quincy Pondexter (knee) out.
The Kings hold a 2-0 advantage over the Pelicans on the season, including two wins at Golden 1 Center. New Orleans holds a 41-39 lead in the all-time series between these two clubs.
“You’re not going to stop, you’re not going to stop him. You just have to get in his way and pray to God he misses. Other than that, you’re not going to stop him from doing what he wants to do. You just have to keep coming back at him and just be competitive and don’t lay down.” -Cauley-Stein on Cousins