After a hard-fought game against the Utah Jazz, the Sacramento Kings are looking to add one to the win collum against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are notably short-handed, but the Kings can’t take anything for granted lest they fall victim to the ever frustrating trap game.
New Orleans will be without their star, Zion Williamson, as he continues to rehab from foot surgery he underwent this offseason. The Pelicans may also find themselves without Zion’s co-star, Brandon Ingram, who is listed as doubtful per The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson with a hip contusion. To make matters worse for NOLA, they may also be without rookie sparkplug Herb Jones who is suffering from concussion-like symptoms after last night’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
All signs point to the Kings taking care of business tonight against the league’s worst team; however, there can be no listless attitude tonight. The Kings came extremely close to a win last night, but there are no moral victories in the NBA, and they now find themselves with a sub-.500 record. A win tonight would get Sacramento one step closer to where they want to be; the question is:
Can Luke Walton Barnes lead the Kings to victory?
Sacramento will have to lean on their crafty veteran regardless of who is, or isn’t, suiting up for the other team as regardless, the Pelicans provide certain matchup issues for the Kings. One issue, in particular, comes in the form of the 7’0″ center, Jonas Valančiūnas.
Valančiūnas had his way against Sacramento in their last matchup as he pilled up both points and rebounds whenever he wished against the Kings. The flip side of Valančiūnas’ strength advantage was the world Richaun Holmes was able to put in as he played opposite the significantly slower center from Lithuania.
If the Kings can slow Valančiūnas down offensively, then they will likely have hampered the entirety of the Pelicans offense. The Pelicans are a poor shooting team, especially from three, so if the Kings throw the double-team at Valančiūnas early and often, even if he can find help and pass the ball, New Orleans will struggle to get any semblance of an offensive game going leading to a Sacramento victory.
Tonight’s game is going to hinge on Head Coach Luke Walton doing the unthinkable; making the proper adjustments to help his team get the win.