Kings look to end slide against slumping Pelicans

Kings look to end slide against slumping Pelicans
March 3, 2014, 10:45 am
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The Kings lost at home to the Pelicans 113-100 on December 23, 2013. (AP)

  • The Pelicans have won four of the last six against the Kings. The teams have split the two games they have played against each other this season.
  • In Sacramento's loss to the Timberwolves on Saturday, Rudy Gay (24), Isaiah Thomas (22), and DeMarcus Cousins (21) all had 20+ points. The Kings have 12 games this season with three-plus players scoring 20+ points, most by any team in the league.
  • After coming off the bench in his first 49 games this season, Tyreke Evans has started each of his last two games. In these two games, Evans is averaging 18.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.
  • Demarcus Cousins had 21 points and 17 rebounds in Sacramento's loss on Saturday. Cousins has eight games this season with 20+ points and 15+ rebounds, fourth most in the league.
  • In five career games against the Kings, Anthony Davis is averaging 16.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. Davis has scored in double figures in each of his five games against the Kings.
  • When these teams last played on January 21, Rudy Gay tied a career high, scoring 41 points. Over his last five games overall, Gay is averaging 27.0 points and is shooting 52.7 percent from the field.

Programming note: Pelicans-Kings coverage tips off at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California (territory restrictions apply) Channel locations

Anthony Davis' ailing left shoulder has created added concern for the New Orleans Pelicans as they suffer through the longest current losing streak in the Western Conference.

Though he's expected to play through the injury, Davis is looking to bounce back from a lackluster performance as the Pelicans try to avoid matching their worst skid Monday night in Sacramento.

After spraining his shoulder in a 108-89 loss at Dallas on Wednesday, Davis appeared to be fine Friday when he scored 32 points on 14-of-18 shooting in a 116-104 loss at Phoenix.

The All-Star forward, however, struggled Saturday with three fouls in his first seven minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin. He ended up with eight points and went 1 of 6 in a 108-76 defeat at Staples Center.

Davis played just 20 minutes as the Pelicans (23-36) suffered their worst loss of the season.

"We didn't have much of anything from our starting unit," coach Monty Williams said. "We could blame it on foul trouble or the referees, but I thought they just physically pushed us around and we just didn't respond."

Davis will try to regroup while leading New Orleans to its second win in three meetings with the Pacific Division-worst Kings (20-39). He had 21 points and 11 boards in a 113-100 road win Dec. 23, but scored 16 and shot 4 of 12 in a 114-97 home loss Jan. 21.

New Orleans, last in the Southwest Division, has dropped seven in a row after losing the first three on five-game trip by an average of 21.0 points.

The Pelicans, who lost a season-high eight straight Jan. 4-18, are averaging 92.9 points during the skid after shooting a season-low 32.9 percent Saturday. Starting guards Eric Gordon and Brian Roberts were a combined 2 for 21 after the club announced Friday that point guard Jrue Holiday (broken right tibia) would miss the remainder of the season.

Tyreke Evans will try to continue his improved play since moving into the starting lineup for the past two games. He had 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists against the Clippers.

Evans, who spent his first four seasons in Sacramento, recorded 25 points, 12 assists and six boards in his first return to the city in December. He also led the Pelicans with 17 points off the bench in their home loss to the Kings.

Sacramento's Rudy Gay matched a career high with 41 points in that contest, and he's averaged 28.3 and 54.7 percent shooting in his last four games.

Gay scored 24 points and hit four 3s while Isaiah Thomas had 22 points with eight assists Saturday, but the Kings dropped their third in a row, 108-97 to visiting Minnesota.

"Good teams don't beat themselves," coach Michael Malone said after his squad committed 19 turnovers. "So it's very hard in the same game to beat your opponents and yourself and we did that."

DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 17 rebounds in his return after serving a one-game suspension for punching Houston guard Patrick Beverley on Tuesday. He's totaled 42 points, 25 boards and six blocks in the two games against the Pelicans.

Cousins, averaging team highs of 22.3 points and 11.6 rebounds, will face a New Orleans team that has given up 113.8 points and 51.1 percent from the field in its last four.

The Kings had won four straight home meetings before the Dec. 23 loss.

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