Game 60 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson and Anthony Davis look to rebound at the free throw line. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PST

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Local Television), NBA TV (National Television)

Sacramento Kings Projected Starters (20-39)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Ben McLemore
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

New Orleans Pelicans Projected Starters (23-36)

PG: Brian Roberts
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Tyreke Evans
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Alexis Ajinca




What to watch

1. Can the Kings protect the rim against Tyreke Evans?

In his first game back in Sacramento as a visiting player, Evans had his way with the Kings at the rim.  He went 7-of-14 from the field, with each of his makes coming at the basket.  Evans said after the game that he wasn’t surprised by the Kings’ inability to stop his penetration, noting that the Kings don’t have a dominant rim protector. It’s obvious, but forcing Evans to beat them from the perimeter will be critical  for the Kings to have success tonight.

2. Anthony Davis vs. DeMarcus Cousins

Davis is one of several players that earned an All-Star nod over Cousins this season.  This will be the first time the two former Kentucky products square off since new commissioner Adam Silver named Davis as Kobe Bryant‘s injury replacement to this year’s game.  Like Cousins, Davis is averaging a double-double – 20.2 points and 10 rebounds – to go along with three blocks a night.  Cousins did play well in his return game from suspension Saturday, scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in a losing effort to Minnesota.

3. Which rookie shines for the Kings?

Ben McLemore’s struggles are the Kings’ worst kept secret.  Since retaking his place in the Kings starting lineup following the trade of Marcus Thornton, the 21-year-old rookie has received the minutes, playing just about 30 minutes a night.  However, he’s averaged just 7.8 points per game while shooting an abysmal 28.3 percent from the field and 19 percent from 3-point distance.  Ray McCallum, meanwhile, has been better, but not by much.  McCallum had his best of the game season on Saturday, chipping in a career-best nine-points and career-high matching five assists while getting the nod to play crunch time with four of the five Kings’ starters.  Even though McLemore is the starter, don’t be surprised if Michael Malone turns to McCallum tonight if the former second-round pick shows he’s better prepared than his fellow rookie teammate.

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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.