DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings are back in Sacramento tonight to face Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. This will be the fourth and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Pelicans are ahead in the season series 2-1, but I’ve found every game entertaining.
Before we dive too deep into tonight’s game, I should mention a few things about Wednesday nights 115 – 111 loss to the Rockets in Houston. Rudy Gay sat this one out as he continues to recover from a concussion (he is expected to miss tonight’s game as well) but the loss to Houston proved a point we already knew – so long as DeMarcus Cousins is on the court, this team can beat anyone. He’s the key that makes this car run.
Cousins responded to the extra workload with 24 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and 6 blocked shots. He was incredible.
Unfortunately the Kings couldn’t really defend the Rockets all night. James Harden exploded for 51 points on .640 shooting. Ben McLemore has received a lot of credit for his defensive improvements this season, but he still has a long way to go, particularly against three point shooters as prolific as Harden. This Kings team is terrible at defending the three-point line as a unit, but that is another conversation for another time.
The Pelicans defeated the Kings 102 – 88 about a week ago at home. The Kings have a chance for revenge tonight that coincides with an opportunity to even up the season series. Cousins had a monster 39 points, 20 rebound effort in that game. Davis put up 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists of his own, but it was Tyreke Evans who really put the Kings away.
I’m still annoyed with how the Evans situation ended in Sacramento. I still like him as a player, and you could argue that he isn’t worth the contract the Pelicans signed him to a few offseason ago, but I wanted the Kings to keep Evans around. If they had shown a stronger interest in him earlier in free agency, or before he became a free agent all together, things could have been different.
Of course, the Kings were going through a massive ownership transition at the time, but I still feel like Evans is a big talent the Kings let sneak away.
As I already mentioned, Gay is out tonight. Cousins’ status is always up in the air, but my gut feeling is that he’ll play. I think he likes going up against Anthony Davis for obvious competitive reasons.
It’ll be interesting to see if Sim Bhullar makes his NBA debut tonight. The Kings made his signing official yesterday, and I think he’s one of the few Reno call-ups that may find a consistent spot in this rotation sooner than later. The Kings have invested a lot of time in Bhullar’s development, and I’m sure they’d like to see how he’s progressed thus far.
I know that this team is getting harder and harder to watch as players sit out and the season winds down, but the Kings vs. Pelicans games have been highly entertaining this season, and I expect no less tonight.
Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Where: Sleep Train Arena – Sacramento, CA
When: 7:00 PM, 10:00 PM EST
Broadcast: Comcast Sportsnet California
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
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