Game Preview: Kings (6-4) vs. Pelicans (5-4)


The Kings are coming off of an impressive home victory over the San Antonio Spurs, a game the Kings desperately needed after suffering through tough losses in Dallas and Memphis. It looks like the Kings are back on track. That Spurs win showed that this team can bounce back from adversity, and might be more mentally strong than I originally thought. For more on that victory against the defending champions, you can read our recap here.

A lot has been said about the Kings brutal November schedule, but the Kings are catching a bit of a break tonight when the Pelicans visit Sacramento. The Pelicans are quite good, and have loads of potential, but they are coming into town on the second night of a back-to-back. The Kings have been off for a couple of days. That rest could be the difference maker.

What To Watch For:

NBA TV: This is the first nationally televised game of the season for the Sacramento Kings. A lot of eyes will be on this one, and for good reason. I would argue that the Kings and Pelicans are the two most entertaining teams in the Western Conference right now, but I am bias and a huge sucker for young up and coming teams with playoff aspirations. NBA fans must agree, because they voted this game on to NBA TV through the fan night poll. Good work, Kings fans.

Injuries: The only thing keeping my excitement level for this game slightly below where it should be is the fact that both teams could be missing key players. Rudy Gay is questionable with right Achilles tendinitis, and Jason Thompson is probable with a left quad injury. On the Pelicans side, Omer Asik may or may not play with a back issue. For the sake of good basketball, I hope all of these guys make it on to the court tonight.

Boogie vs. Brow: It’s the matchup everyone is talking about. It’s the one everyone wants to see. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t expect them to guard each other tonight if Asik plays. Jason Thompson has done a good job defending opposing big men this season, so I’m sure we’ll see a lot of Thompson on Anthony Davis. If Asik doesn’t play, I would expect heavy minutes for Ryan Anderson, and if that is the case, the Pelicans would almost have to defend Cousins with Davis. You wouldn’t want to miss that.

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Is taking a step back in 2023-24 inevitable for the Sacramento Kings?
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  • The Line (5-5): The Kings are 3-point favorites in this one, and while I don’t feel great about it, I’m going to take the Kings here. Omer Asik is the key. Cousins has struggled against bigger, physical centers like Asik in the past. As much as I love Anthony Davis, Cousins should be able to muscle him out of the post. If Asik plays, I think this game is a tossup. Without Asik, I think the Kings will come away from this one with a win. As I mentioned earlier, the Kings might be without Rudy Gay, so I would expect the line to move in one direction or the other before tipoff.

    Final Thoughts: This game is going to be so much fun. The Kings have a few old friends coming into town with the Pelicans: Tyreke Evans, John Salmons, and yes, Jimmer Fredette. Seeing Evans on another team still bums me out. He’s such a unique guard, and did some truly amazing things in his time with the Kings. For a couple season there, he was the only guy worth watching in Sacramento. I’m rooting for the Kings tonight, but I wish nothing but the best for the Pelicans this season.

    Check back in to A Royal Pain after the game for our recap.