After a tightly contested loss to the Utah Jazz in the opener, the Sacramento Kings venture out on their first road trip of the season beginning Friday in New Orleans. They’ll face a re-loaded Pelicans team anchored by superstar big man, Anthony Davis.
Pregame Live starts on NBC Sports Bay California at 4:30 p.m., with tip-off scheduled for 5:00 pm .
The Kings pushed the tempo in their home opener, dropping 117 points on a Jazz team that ranked second in the league last season in both points allowed and defensive rating. Willie Cauley-Stein led the way with 23 points and De’Aaron Fox chipped in 21 points and seven assists in the loss.
New Orleans is coming off a big 131-112 win over the Houston Rockets in their season debut. They received huge performances by newcomers Elfrid Payton (triple-double) and Julius Randle (25 points, eight rebounds off the bench) and the combo of Davis and Nikola Mirotic combined for 62 points, 26 rebounds and 11 assists.
Following the game, the Kings travel to OKC where they’ll battle the Thunder on Sunday afternoon. They’ll make a stop in Denver to face the Nuggets on Tuesday before returning home to Golden 1 Center for a clash with the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Line: Pelicans by 10.5
Projected Starting Lineup
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Yogi Ferrell
SF Buddy Hield
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein
PG Elfrid Payton
SG Jrue Holiday
SF E’Twaun Moore
PF Nikola Mirotic
C Anthony Davis
SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (left knee) OUT, C Kosta Koufos (hamstring) OUT.
PF Julius Randle (foot) PROBABLE.
Coach Dave Joerger turned to 10 players in the opener, but only seven played substantial minutes. His new-look starting lineup played well, with all five players finishing in double-figures and running positives in the plus/minus category.
Justin Jackson played 30 minutes off the bench, seeing time at both forward positions and Iman Shumpert logged 17 minutes after sitting out most of last season. Rookies Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles combined for just 21 minutes in the opener, but with New Orleans’ size, there is a chance they get more of an opportunity in Game 2.
Cauley-Stein (38 minutes) and Fox (37 minutes) led Sacramento in floor time during the opener and should be a solid bet to see substantial minutes moving forward.
Alvin Gentry used an eight-man rotation in the opener with all five starters seeing 29 minutes or more. He has a veteran squad that compliments Davis well. Gentry uses a three-guard set to start games, using Payton, Holiday and Moore to run the offense. Randle is a physical player that has given Sacramento fits in the past.
The Kings held Davis to 19.3 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes per game last season.