Game On: Kings @ Pelicans

The Pelicans wrap up the season series against the Kings at home tonight and catch the Kings on a bit of a downswing.   The Kings are missing one of their trio of efficient scorers – Isaiah Thomas – and his absence is causing a surprising number of issues.  Since Thomas has gone down, the team is not only 1 point per possession worse offensively, but also 3 points per possession worse defensively.  Odd, considering his reputation as being too small to defend effectively.

The reasons aren’t that easy to tease out.  The Kings are predictably shooting worse – but more dramatically, their free throw rate has dropped by about 25% without Thomas out there.  That could have a defensive impact – since the team isn’t getting as many opportunities to set up its defense after a free throw attempt.  Or it could be that rookie Ray McCollum, who is getting 43 minutes a game, just isn’t as good as Thomas.

Of course, none of this really matters if Anthony Davis doesn’t play.  Tyreke has been beasting it out there, but he can’t carry the entire team by himself, and a loss is likely if he doesn’t suit up. (Provided a role player doesn’t go crazy out there)

Davis or no Davis, how do the Pelicans attack the Kings?

Keys to the Game

  • Get after the ball-handlers.  The Kings have been a big turnover team all season – but have picked it up over their last 10 games.  Steals can be generated – and Tyreke can jam them down the Kings throat.
  • We like to complain about the Pelicans fouling problems – but the Kings are right there with us.  For once, make another team give up the Free Throw attempt advantage.  Attack the bigs.
  • DRIVE.  No team lets opponents into the paint like the Kings do.  Get there and finish.

Side note:  Since Reggie Evans joined the team, opponents of the Kings only gather 19% of available offensive rebounds.  That’s sick.

Enjoy the game!

Update: Anthony Davis will play tonight.

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