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If the Pelicans fail to beat the Kings, consider it a deeply ominous trend on the rest of this season

New Orleans doesn’t want the losing streak to hit six games. Trust me.

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans will look to right the ship against the Sacramento Kings Sunday evening after having lost five straight games since beginning the 2020-21 campaign with a 4-2 record.

And right the ship they must.

Long losing streaks are a bad omen for this franchise. In the previous ten seasons, losing streaks that lasted six games or more led to forgettable non-playoff campaigns.

  • 2019-20: Franchise-worst 13-game losing streak (30-42 W/L record)
  • 2018-19: Two 6-game losing streaks (33-49 W/L record)
  • 2017-18: 4-game losing streak (48-34 W/L record)
  • 2016-17: 8-game losing streak (34-48 W/L record)
  • 2015-16: 6-game losing streak (30-52 W/L record)
  • 2014-15: Two 4-game losing streaks (45-37 W/L record)
  • 2013-14: Three 8-game losing streaks (34-48 W/L record)
  • 2012-13: 11-game losing streak (27-55 W/L record)
  • 2011-12: 9-game losing streak (21-45 W/L record)
  • 2010-11: 4-game losing streak (46-36 W/L record)

The task seems cut and dried. History says that the Pelicans must find a way to beat the Kings today. Six or more straight losses in a season and the epitaph might as well be written. Five-game losing streaks are uncharted territory — the number they’re stuck on before the action later today.

Helping matters, the Kings are not remotely the same quality of opponent witnessed in New Orleans’ last two opponents (Clippers, Lakers). Sacramento has lost seven of their last nine games after beginning the year 3-1. They’ve given up at least 122 points in each of their last seven contests, including a laughable 144 points to the 4-8 Raptors ten days ago.

Despite the shoddy defensive displays, the Kings are, once again, far from the least talented team in the league. De’Aaron Fox should still be considered a rising star in this league and he’s surrounded by solid producers in Rashaun Holmes, Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes. Each of these three players can go off for 20 points or more in their own unique way.

While Marvin Bagley remains an enigma, Tyrese Haliburton looks like a draft-day steal at the 12th overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft. Sacramento’s latest first rounder has turned a lot of heads so far this season.

Haliburton can do a little bit of everything really well (defend, shoot, pass, rebound), but perhaps most impressive, he’s largely looked like a savvy 10-year veteran in his rookie campaign. Haliburton’s IQ is simply off the charts. He seems to make the right reads and plays every single time.

My four favorite targets beyond the widely expected top three (Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball) in the 2020 NBA Draft were Onyeka Okongwu, Patrick Williams, Killian Hayes and Haliburton. I’m high on Kira Lewis Jr., but had Tyrese slipped just another spot, I would have ran a few laps around my neighborhood. But alas, Sacramento can’t screw up the draft every year, I suppose.

Geaux Pels! Let’s avoid a 6-game losing streak at all costs!!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (4-7) at Sacramento Kings (5-8)

When: January 17, 8:00 p.m. Central

Where to watch: FSNO

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.