Programming note: Coverage of tonight' s Pelicans-Kings game begins at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California and streams live online with NBC Sports Live Extra
SACRAMENTO -- The Kings (6-4) host the Pelicans (5-4) Tuesday night in the second game of a three-game homestand.
Prior to Sacramento's 94-91 win over the defending-champion Spurs on Saturday, the Kings had not held an opponent under 100 points since the first three opponents of the season – the last time being a 98-92 win over the Clippers at the Staples Center on Nov. 2.
New Orleans visits Sacramento for the second game of a four game road trip and Tuesday is the second of a back-to-back after a 102-93 loss in Portland on Monday.
Gleaning the words of Malone provided a quick scouting report on New Orleans.
“Great opportunity to build ... on how we beat San Antonio and we’re going to have to do the same thing versus a very dangerous New Orleans team,” Malone said after practice on Monday.
On the three guard backcourt of Jrue Holliday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans:
“Can all break you down off the dribble and create for their teammates.”
On the frontcourt of Anthony Davis and Omer Asik:
“Rising star … watching him (Anthony Davis) play with the USA team over the summer ... continues to get better and better.”
“Very talented… Omer -one of better low post defenders in the NBA… and he’ll be on Cousins.” (If healthy, as Asik missed the Monday's game in Portland due to a back injury.)
Ryan Anderson off the bench:
“Sacramento’s own Ryan Anderson… such a 3-point threat, spaces the floor and a complement to Anthony Davis (inside).”
The Kings are establishing a new culture ten games into the season.
“(Versus San Antonio) Really was a great picture of what our identity is,” Malone reflected.
“We defended at a high level. We rebounded at a high level. Only gave ‘em seven offensive rebounds. We got out and ran. We had I think 16 fast break points and then we valued the basketball had a season-low nine turnovers.”
Sacramento needs to stay true to this identity versus New Orleans.
“When you defend, rebound, run and value the basketball, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win a lot of games,” Malone said.
Kings point guard Darren Collison:
“We’re not satisfied. We’re still hungry for more. We still feel like we can improve in a lot of different areas.”
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jason Thompson (probable) vs. Anthony Davis
Davis is ubiquitous in multiple NBA leading statistical categories:
- 25.2 points per game, third in the league
- 11.7 rebounds per game, third in the league
- 4.0 blocks per game, leads the league
- 2.33 steals per game, tied for first with Washington’s John Wall
Davis’s versatility and ability to have a major impact on the floor must be contained with body contact, an awareness of where he is on the floor at all times and defended with a team defense mentality.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Copious Cousins – Cousins averaged 25 points versus New Orleans last season including 35 points in the teams' final meeting.
Similar production will be necessary, especially if Rudy Gay is out due to injury.
2) Deter Davis -- Coming off a 31-point performance Monday night, Antony Davis is averaging 25.2 points per game -- more than Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon in their respective third season’s in the NBA.
The Kings cannot allow Davis to go off.
3) Prevent Pelicans' Offensive Prowess – The Pelicans' propensity to put up points was on display when they scored 139 points against Minnesota.
New Orleans is ranked eighth in the NBA in scoring at 104.2 points per game.
Additionally, the Pels don’t turn it over frequently – only 11 per game, tied for second in the NBA with Toronto.
Sacramento must bring the defensive intensity that held Golden State, Portland, the Clippers and San Antonio to less than 100 points.
If not, the Kings could be exploited by New Orleans in a hurry.
Sacramento – F Rudy Gay (right Achilles tendinitis) is questionable; PF Jason Thompson (left quadriceps tendinitis) is probable.
New Orleans – F Alexis Aijinca (lower back pain) is questionable and C Omer Asik (lower back pain) did not play Monday in Portland and is day-to-day.
This is the first of four meetings this season between Sacramento and New Orleans.
The Kings have won three consecutive games and were 3-1 versus the Pelicans last season.
Sacramento leads the overall series 36-34.