Game 42 Preview: Sacramento Kings at New Orleans Hornets

Greivis Vasquez scans the floor against the Sacramento Kings' defense. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 10:00 am PT

Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA.

Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – CBS Sports 1140

For Hornets perspective, visit TrueHoop Network Affiliate Hornets247.

The book on the Hornets:  New Orleans won only seven games in the first two months of the season.  They went on losing streaks of seven and 11 games in November and December.  But the new year has been kinder to the Hornets, who have won six of their last ten games.  Last year’s No. 1 overall pick has been solid in his rookie year.  Though he’s missed more than 10 contests due to injury, Anthony Davis has posted good numbers in his first NBA season.  In 27 games, Davis has averaged 13.2 points on 51.4 percent shooting, eight rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest.

Did you know?  The Kings’ biggest win over the Hornets in franchise history was a 36-point shellacking in 2004.  Their biggest loss was a 42-point blowout in 1991.

Status Updates: None to report.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (16-25)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

New Orleans Hornets Probable Starters (13-27)

PG: Greivis Vasquez
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Al-Farouq Aminu
PF: Anthony Davis

C: Robin Lopez

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 96.9
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 101.8
  • Defensive Rating: 108.0
  • Pace: 94.57

Hornets

  • Points Per Game: 92.8
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 95.8
  • Defensive Rating: 105.9
  • Pace: 90.42

Three questions to ponder

1.  Who wins the battle of the starting point guards: Isaiah Thomas or Greivis Vasquez?

The Hornets’ lead guard is having his best season as a pro.  Vasquez is averaging career highs across the board in points (14.2), assists (9.1) and minutes (34.5) per game.  In fact, the third-year guard’s assist average ranks him third in the NBA among all players.  Meanwhile, the Kings have enjoyed improved success since Thomas retook the starting reigns.  The Kings have posted a 7-6 record since Keith Smart reinserted the second-year guard back into the starting lineup.  In that time, Thomas has averaged 13.4 points and 4.5 assists in just under 29 minutes per contest.

2.  Will DeMarcus Cousins prove to be too much for the Hornets’ frontline?

After a rocky start to the season, Cousins has finally found some stability on the court.  Since missing two-and-half games due to suspension and coach’s decision, the Kings center has responded by playing some of the most consistent basketball in his career.  Over the last 13 contests, Cousins has averaged a team-leading 20.1 points and 12.2 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per game.  What’s more impressive has been the 22-year-old’s improved passing numbers and shooting percentages.  He’s averaged 4.2 assists per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the field.  Those numbers are huge improvements over his career averages – 2.3 assists per contest and 43.9 percent shooting.

3.  Will the news of an agreement between the Maloofs and Seattle investors affect the Kings’ play?

The players know the drill now.  Whenever news breaks out about Seattle, Virginia Beach or Anaheim, they expect to be hit with a bevy of media questions about the team’s uncertain future in Sacramento.  It’s something they’ve become accustomed to over the last two years, but the hearsay is still a distraction.  When news last broke about a possible Kings move to Seattle, the Kings lost a heartbreaker at home in overtime to the Dallas Mavericks.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.