Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Kings - January 21, 2014

Pelicans vs. Kings Game Preview

Two of the NBA’s youngest teams, the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings will meet for the second time this season on Tuesday, with the Pelicans seeking another win over their Western Conference counterparts. In one of its finest performances on the road of 2013-14, New Orleans registered a 113-100 victory at Sacramento on Dec. 23, the first of four matchups between the West squads. The latter two meetings are both in March, with New Orleans visiting California’s capital city on March 3, and the Kings returning to the Crescent City exactly four weeks later.

Although both teams’ rosters have changed slightly since, on Opening Night the Pelicans were the NBA’s second-youngest team, with an average age of 24.0 years. Only Cleveland (23.8) had a more youthful roster. With a core group based around several recent lottery picks, Sacramento (25.9) also ranked in the top half of the league in terms of youth.

Facing the NBA team he played for during the first four years of his pro career, Pelicans reserve Tyreke Evans, 24, spearheaded New Orleans to its previous victory vs. Sacramento, nearly authoring a triple-double on Dec. 23. Evans led the Pelicans with 25 points and 12 assists, while also grabbing six rebounds. Anthony Davis, 20, topped New Orleans in that category by pulling down 11 rebounds, to go with his 21 points. Point guard Jrue Holiday, 23, posted a double-double against Sacramento with 17 points and 11 assists, but the 2013 All-Star is sidelined indefinitely with a stress fracture in his right shin.

Sacramento is led by University of Kentucky product DeMarcus Cousins, 23, as well as potent scoring forward Rudy Gay, who at 27 is one of the few Kings in the latter half of his 20s. Along with Cousins and Gay, point guard Isaiah Thomas – the last pick of the 2011 NBA Draft – has been a big reason behind the Kings’ recent improved play.

Pelicans Al-Farouq Aminu
Intriguing matchup: Small forward
Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Rudy Gay
Aminu, one of New Orleans’ most effective defenders, helped limit Gay to a poor performance in the Dec. 23 meeting. Gay was just 2-for-12 from the field and held to 11 points vs. the Pelicans, while Aminu notched 13 points and eight rebounds. Gay has averaged 20 points per game since coming to Sacramento in an early-season trade.
Kings Rudy Gay