The 2-1 Pelicans will meet the 4-1 Kings in Rupp Arena Saturday night at 6:00 PM central time. This is the first time Anthony Davis will play basketball in front of his former fans in Lexington since the Pelicans squared off against the Wizards two years ago. New Orleans won that game 93-89, despite a 30-point outburst by Bradley Beal.
As David stated yesterday, Tyreke Evans will sit out the contest due to soreness in his right knee. This is the same knee that caused Evans to miss the preseason opener and had arthroscopic surgery back in May. Although Gentry claimed it wasn't anything major and believed he could have played if it had been a regular season game, it's cause for concern when issues continue to arise from the same area of the body.
Against the Kings, the Pelicans will be short-handed. In addition to Evans, Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca, Quincy Pondexter, Luke Babbitt and Norris Cole will all miss the game. Eric Gordon should return to the lineup and Nate Robinson and Bo Calebb will suit up for New Orleans for the first time.
As far as the rash of injuries, Gentry believes, "it's just one of those things. Guys play hard and sometimes injuries happen. And then guys play hard and there are no injuries at all. At Golden State, we had very few injuries at all."
On the other side of the coin, the Kings come into Rupp largely healthy. However, they've had several off-the-court issues arise since the end of last season. Most recently, Rajon Rondo said that he wasn't getting along with head coach George Karl, but he later refuted the statement saying it was a joke. Coming off the DeMarcus Cousins debacle this past off-season, Karl's image doesn't need any more stories about not getting along with his players.
Believe it or not, former Hornet Marco Belinelli is leading Sacramento in scoring this preseason at 18.2 points per game. Conversely, the Pelicans are led by Davis at 21.3 ppg. That's quite impressive considering he has averaged only 22.3 minutes a contest.
As a team, the Kings have averaged 100.6 points a game (17th) but at a much slower pace (19th) than people would expect of a Karl-led team. The Pelicans are 4th in the league in scoring at 108.7 ppg, playing at the 7th fastest clip.
However, after Karl became the head coach out of the 2015 All-Star break, the Kings ranked 7th in points and 6th in pace under his watch. Consequently, look for a bit of a shoot-out tonight.