Pregame report: Pelicans at Kings
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and updates from Sleep Train Arena prior to Monday’s Western Conference game between New Orleans and Sacramento:
• Pelicans Coach Monty Williams on his team’s perspective as it tries to end a seven-game losing streak: “When you lose games the way we’ve lost them, it does mess with your psyche a little bit. But that’s the league. That’s not anything new. You’ve just got to keep fighting. We’ve got to play a lot better than we’ve played to win a game. We certainly haven’t done enough to win.”
• Williams on the team’s recent decision to move Tyreke Evans into the starting lineup: “We like to put shooters out there with him so that he can have more space. Eric (Gordon) and Brian Roberts shoot the ball well, so that can help. Tyreke gets to the basket about as good as anyone, so that can help Eric and BRob. We weren’t playing well (at the time of the change). It wasn’t like this was to going to make everything A-OK. We’re trying to find lineups that are going to make us play better. He’s been effective in the starting lineup. He may be more comfortable. We’re not sure.”
• Kings Coach Michael Malone, a former New Orleans assistant, on the Pelicans-Kings matchup: “Something’s got to give. It’s a seven-game losing streak and a three-game losing streak. For us, it comes down to, can we contain the ball? When they beat us (in December), Tyreke (Evans), Eric Gordon and Brian Roberts had their way with us. Containing their guards (is important). The second area of concern is their offensive rebounding. This is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league. They have a lot of length. Anthony Davis does a great job of working (on the boards). When they beat us here, they had 16 offensive rebounds. When we beat them in New Orleans, they had only nine offensive rebounds.”
• What’s at stake for the Pelicans (23-36): New Orleans, currently in 12th place in the Western Conference, is attempting to pick up its first win since the All-Star break. The Pelicans also can take the lead in the season series vs. the Kings, which is tied at one apiece. New Orleans only has three road wins this season against Western opponents, but one of those victories came here in Sacramento (the other two were at Memphis).
• What’s at stake for the Kings (20-39): A win would at least temporarily move Sacramento out of the basement in the West and Pacific Division. The Kings are currently deadlocked with the Lakers. Sacramento has a chance to post its first 30-plus-win season since going 38-44 in 2007-08.