The Sacramento Kings pay a visit to New Orleans arena Tuesday evening; however, don't be quick to dismiss them for their 14-25 record. Since our 3-point victory right before Christmas, they've gone 6-6 including wins over the Heat, Rockets, Timberwolves and Trail Blazers. During the same stretch, the Pelicans are 3-10 and this time around, we go into battle without Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday.
In the preview close to a month ago now, the numbers told us to be very wary of our high-scoring opponent. Just substituting a single player off their starting five showed extreme volatility in the advanced numbers. Well, head coach Mike Malone has decided to go with one of these tweaks as his new starting lineup and it's worked. The combination of Thomas-Thornton-Gay-Thompson-Cousins has a net rating of +12.4 (that's ORTG (107.9) minus DRTG (95.5)). And that's not from an insignificant sample size as this five-man group has played a total of 141 minutes.
Since the Pelicans narrow victory, their Big 3 have been on fire:
- Rudy Gay - 21.2 PPG, 5.5 REB, 3.2 ASTS, 54.4 FG%, 91.8 FT% and close to 1 3/STL/BLK a game.
- DeMarcus Cousins - 24.7 PPG, 13.8 REB, 2.3 ASTS, 47 FG%, 75 FG%, 1.8 STL, 1.2 BLK.
- Isaiah Thomas - 21.0 PPG, 2.4 3PTM, 3.3 REB, 7.4 ASTS, 44.6 FG%, 86.8 FT%, 1.1 STL.