DeMarcus Cousins was electric yet again for New Orleans (1-3) but the injury to fellow frontman, Anthony Davis, proved too much as the Pelicans fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 93-103. New Orleans will want to shake off their slow start to the season and this is the perfect opportunity for the team and Cousins to make a statement.
This will be the first time Cousins steps foot back in Sacramento, and after his choice words for the organization this week, look for him to be the game-changer. After being asked about his time in Sacramento, Boogie came out and said, “my biggest regret is why I didn’t leave when I had the chance”. With fighting words like that, expect this to be a rough game, especially early on and in the paint.
The Sacramento Kings handed the Phoenix Suns their first win of the season despite admirable performances from De’Aaron Fox (19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists) and Garrett Temple (23 points). That loss drops the team to 1-3 to start the season, and although there aren’t high expectations in Sacramento, nobody wants to tank this early on.
The Kings are outmatched down low but could put up a fight with their frontcourt as Buddy Hield will also want to prove to the Pelicans, the team that drafted him last season, that it was a mistake to trade him. Hield is averaging 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, numbers he’ll want to beef up, starting tonight.
Keys to the Game
Pelicans starters will need to dominate –Their depth is being pushed to the test with the loss of one of their franchise players so the team’s starters will need to play plenty of minutes and produce while on the floor. Davis isn’t the easiest man to replace but when you’ve got a motivated Cousins, life gets easier. On to our next key…
Who will step up in the absence of Anthony Davis? The easy answer Is DeMarcus, but lesser players like Ian Clarke and newly arrived Jameer Nelson will have to pick up the slack. Cousins can’t do it all for this team, but the Pelicans have shown that their secondary scoring can put points up.
Which Kings unit will step up? The reserves or the starters? In their loss to the Suns, the entire Kings’ backup unit played more total minutes than the starters, and with good reason. They gave them more energy and production that was needed to keep them in the game. Will the real Kings lineup please stand up?
Matchup to Watch
Kings PG George Hill vs. Pelicans PG Jrue Holiday — The Pelicans would kill to have someone like George Hill on their roster; a solid defender and reliable shooter from the perimeter. Holiday will strive to emulate his opponent’s play throughout the season but he must at least match him to give the Pelicans a greater chance of winning.
New Orleans Pelicans projected starting lineup
PG – Jrue Holiday | SG – Jameer Nelson | SF – E’Twaun Moore | PF – Dante Cunningham | C – DeMarcus Cousins
Sacramento Kings projected starting lineup
PG – George Hill | SG – Buddy Hield | SF – Justin Jackson| PF – Zach Randolph | C –Willie Cauley-Stein
Boogie is a bona fide fantasy stud. He puts up 30 points and 10 rebounds in his sleep. With the Kings lacking any real front court talent expect more of the same from him.
Betting on either of these teams is a fool’s errand. With the Kings coming in as (-1.5) point favorites, pick the Pelicans to cover the spread. The Kings will have trouble matching up with Cousins and there’s no way he walks out of the building with a loss tonight.
Boogie makes a statement against his former team, leading them to a hard fought win.
League Pass and local coverage is the way to go for this one. Coverage starts at 10.30pm ET from the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA.
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