The Pelicans and Kings have split the season series thus far, 1-1. The pair are currently sporting losing streaks, albeit New Orleans 7 in a row is noticeably worse than Sacramento's 3. Both teams are above average on offense and hideously poor on the opposite end of the floor.
In our last match-up, their big 3 (Thomas-Gay-Cousins) completed dominated the game: 79 points, 8 three's, 22 rebounds, 22 assists, 6 steals and 4 blocks. Needless to say, the Pelicans miserably failed in containing the biggest key to the game. We'll have to do a significantly better job if a win is to be the outcome.
However, it won't be a total loss if we come up short. Apparently, the organization has changed course and is now looking to give the youngsters a deeper look. Austin Rivers has been averaging approximately 26.5 minutes a game in the past four, Jeff Withey has moved ahead of Greg Stiemsma in the rotation and Darius Miller has joined the living, having seen time the last 3 games. On the other end of the spectrum, Al-Farouq Aminu and Anthony Morrow didn't even get off the bench in the game Saturday.
Instead of the 3 keys to the game (since winning isn't paramount anymore), we'll start posting on what to watch for.
- Tyreke Evans. In his two starts, Evans is averaging 18 PPG, 1.5 3PM (gotta love small sample sizes), 7 REB, 4.5 AST, .5 STL and 3.0 TOV. Out of the starters in our last game, he was the only one that drew praise from Monty Williams.
- Brian Robert's struggles. In his last 5, Roberts is only averaging 24 minutes a game. Has he been limited more by the stats (31.0 FG%, 2.4 TOV) or the organization's commitment to give Rivers greater playing time?
- Slowing down DeMarcus. Cousins has feasted on New Orleans in the previous two meetings this season: 21.0 PPG, 12.5 REB, 3.5 AST, 2.5 STL and 3.0 BLK. Will Monty just rotate through the roster again and hope someone sticks or will an actual game plan be devised?