Anthony Davis’ ailing left shoulder has created added concern for the New Orleans Pelicans as they suffer through the longest current losing streak in the Western Conference.
Though he’s expected to play through the injury, Davis is looking to bounce back from a lackluster performance as the Pelicans try to avoid matching their worst skid Monday night in Sacramento.
After spraining his shoulder in a 108-89 loss at Dallas on Wednesday, Davis appeared to be fine Friday when he scored 32 points on 14-of-18 shooting in a 116-104 loss at Phoenix.
The All-Star forward, however, struggled Saturday with three fouls in his first seven minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin. He ended up with eight points and went 1 of 6 in a 108-76 defeat at Staples Center.
Davis played just 20 minutes as the Pelicans (23-36) suffered their worst loss of the season.
"We didn’t have much of anything from our starting unit," coach Monty Williams said. "We could blame it on foul trouble or the referees, but I thought they just physically pushed us around and we just didn’t respond."
Davis will try to regroup while leading New Orleans to its second win in three meetings with the Pacific Division-worst Kings (20-39). He had 21 points and 11 boards in a 113-100 road win Dec. 23, but scored 16 and shot 4 of 12 in a 114-97 home loss Jan. 21.
New Orleans, last in the Southwest Division, has dropped seven in a row after losing the first three on five-game trip by an average of 21.0 points.
The Pelicans, who lost a season-high eight straight Jan. 4-18, are averaging 92.9 points during the skid after shooting a season-low 32.9 percent Saturday. Starting guards Eric Gordon and Brian Roberts were a combined 2 for 21 after the club announced Friday that point guard Jrue Holiday (broken right tibia) would miss the remainder of the season.
Tyreke Evans will try to continue his improved play since moving into the starting lineup for the past two games. He had 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists against the Clippers.
Evans, who spent his first four seasons in Sacramento, recorded 25 points, 12 assists and six boards in his first return to the city in December. He also led the Pelicans with 17 points off the bench in their home loss to the Kings.
Sacramento’s Rudy Gay matched a career high with 41 points in that contest, and he’s averaged 28.3 and 54.7 percent shooting in his last four games.
Gay scored 24 points and hit four 3s while Isaiah Thomas had 22 points with eight assists Saturday, but the Kings dropped their third in a row, 108-97 to visiting Minnesota.
"Good teams don’t beat themselves," coach Michael Malone said after his squad committed 19 turnovers. "So it’s very hard in the same game to beat your opponents and yourself and we did that.”
DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 17 rebounds in his return after serving a one-game suspension for punching Houston guard Patrick Beverley on Tuesday. He’s totaled 42 points, 25 boards and six blocks in the two games against the Pelicans.
Cousins, averaging team highs of 22.3 points and 11.6 rebounds, will face a New Orleans team that has given up 113.8 points and 51.1 percent from the field in its last four.
The Kings had won four straight home meetings before the Dec. 23 loss.