NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)
New Orleans Pelicans (11-14) at Sacramento Kings (8-18), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Pelicans are winless on their five-game western road trip, which concludes Monday against the Sacramento Kings.
The Pelicans dropped to 0-4 on the jaunt following Saturday's 110-107 loss at Portland and wasted 21-point efforts from both Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans. Davis was playing in his second game since returning from a broken hand and also grabbed nine rebounds to go with two blocks.
Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon scored 18 points apiece and Jrue Holiday ended with 13 points for the Pelicans, who are in the midst of playing 10 of 12 games away from home.
Anderson and Evans each missed potential game-tying 3-pointers in the closing seconds, and New Orleans fell to 4-9 as the visitor and had a 105-103 lead after trailing 96-86.
"It wasn't the cleanest look," said Anderson. "That last play we drew up was a great play and I think the timing was a little bit off. I was comfortable taking that shot and I felt like it was going in, but it didn't."
Gordon has scored in double digits 20 times in 25 games for the Pelicans
The Kings are back home for a couple games and went 1-3 on their recent road trip along the eastern seaboard. They ended a three-game slide with Saturday's 105-100 triumph at Orlando, as Isaiah Thomas and Rudy Gay ended with 23 points apiece. They both hit a trio of 3-pointers and Sacramento shot 52.2 percent from long range (12-of-23).
"We made enough plays obviously to get that win," said Kings head coach Michael Malone. "(I'm) proud of our guys to finish up a disappointing road trip but we didn't hang our heads."
Marcus Thornton had 11 of his 15 points off the bench in the fourth quarter and DeMarcus Cousins tallied 14 and 11 rebounds in the win. The Kings scored 23 points off 18 Orlando turnovers and have now scored 100 or more points in nine of the last 10 games, averaging 104.0 points in that time.
Gay is enjoying his move to Sacramento and has recorded at least 20 points in four of six games since the trade from Toronto.
For how well the Kings have played offensively lately, they're still struggling on defense and are next to last in opponents' scoring (103.3 ppg). Only the Philadelphia 76ers are worse at 111.7 ppg.
Sacramento will play seven of the next nine games at home and is 5-10 at Sleep Train Arena this season.
The Kings lost two of three meetings with New Orleans last season, but are unbeaten in the last four as the host in this series. Sacramento is 18-4 in the previous 22 matchups between the teams in California's capital.
12/23 10:35:06 ET