The Kings continue their road trip against the Pelicans after a tough 3-point loss to the Pacers. New Orleans just ended their 10-game losing streak with a win last night against the Lakers, meaning the Kings will once again face a team on the 2nd night of a back-to-back with the rest advantage. Let’s see what Sacramento can do to get back in the win column against the Pelicans.
Rest advantage: When you’ve had more days of rest than your opponent. The Kings have had 16 such games this year, which is tied for most in the league with the Utah Jazz. Ideally, this presents the team with the advantage of less travel time, fresh legs, and time to prepare. The frustrating thing for Kings fans is that Sacramento has done noticeably poor in these situations this season. In their 16 games with the advantage, the Kings have gone 4-12, which is a .250 winning percentage. The only team with a worse winning percentage in the situation is the Spurs at 2-9 (.182). To round out the rest of the stats and schedule, the Kings have gone 5-6 (.455) when they are at the disadvantage, and a league leading 20-4 (.833) when they have equal rest as their opponent.
For tonight though, we will continue to focus and keep an eye on how they do against the Pelicans who played a close game last night in which CJ McCollum played 39:04 minutes, Herb Jones played 40:26, and Brandon Ingram, in his 3rd game back from injury, played 32:19. This is the exact type of game where you want to get out and run against a tired team.
That will be much harder to do with De’Aaron Fox missing his 2nd game in a row, as he can be a one-man fastbreak machine whenever he decides to turn it on. From the point guard spot, the Kings will need more production than they got last game against the Pacers. Davion Mitchell and Matthew Dellavedova combined for 3 Points, 1 Rebound, and 2 Assists in just over 30 minutes of play. The Kings have plenty of other scoring options, but it’s hard to win with that big of a whole in production from the point guard slot. With offensive options in Sabonis, Barnes, Huerter, Keegan, Monk, etc., the Kings don’t need much from Davion and Delly, but they have to do enough to keep defenses honest.
Someone who has stepped up lately is Terence Davis. When looking at advanced numbers, he’s been one of the Kings best players this year, especially when looking at his recent stretch of games.
Mike Brown is especially hard on Davis, but you have to give TD props for rising to the challenge. He gets some of the harshest public criticism on the team, yet continues to stay positive, work on his game, and help his team when called upon. With the trade deadline approaching, it seems like a pivotal time for Terence Davis’ Kings career. Will he get traded for another position of bigger need, will they trade someone else to open up more minutes for him?
Looking into the Pelicans a little more, they come into the game with the 8th ranked defense and 16th ranked offense, which seems odd to say for a team with McCollum and Ingram leading the way. But with rotational players like Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado on the team, they have shifted to a defensive mentality that has worked for them. They are 2nd in the league in Steals with 8.5 per game, 4th in deflections with 16.1, and 6th in Points off Turnovers at 18.9. The Kings will have to take care of the ball tonight after coughing it up 19 times against the Pacers.