Thursday, March 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans (31-33) at Sacramento Kings (37-26)

When the New Orleans Pelicans conclude their three-game Western Conference trip with a game against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, they will attempt to repeat recent history.

The first two games of the trip have been split, with New Orleans winning 121-110 at Portland on Wednesday and losing 108-99 at Golden State on Friday.

Meanwhile, Sacramento’s five-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday when they lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 138-134 at home.

Since their last meeting with the Pelicans, the Kings have not lost two games in a row. That was one month ago, on February 5, when the Kings defeated New Orleans by a score of 136-104 two days after losing to Indiana.

In that New Orleans victory, Trey Murphy III stunned the opponents by scoring 30 points and making six 3-pointers during a stretch in which the Pelicans won four of five games to maintain their position in the Western Conference playoff race.

Since then, they have lost five of their last six games, dropping two games below.500. On Wednesday, they will begin a four-game homestand against all Western playoff contenders.

In light of the fact that the Pelicans, who had the best record in the West at the middle of December, have dropped to the bottom of the pack in the Western race and Zion Williamson’s future remains uncertain due to a strained right hamstring, Brandon Ingram is aware that he must contribute to maintaining a positive outlook.

That is absolutely what Ingram has done. He has scored more than 30 points five times in his last 10 games, including a season-high 40 on Wednesday against Portland.

He and Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, who has essentially matched Ingram point for point in recent weeks, both missed the Kings’ trip to New Orleans last month.

The Rulers’ Top pick had gone for at least 30 places in eight straight appearances prior to adding up to 25 in Saturday’s misfortune to the Timberwolves. With 29 points, Kevin Huerter led the team in that game.

Coach Mike Brown has found himself reminding his team that the job is not done, despite the fact that Sacramento is currently in a rather comfortable position because they have seven fewer losses than the Pelicans.

With a record of 6-3 against all playoff contenders, the Kings have done well during a difficult stretch of the schedule. However, there are no lightweights in sight with the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, and New York Knicks following New Orleans.

The Pelicans and Kings are also scheduled to meet in New Orleans on April 4.

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