Kings-Pelicans Preview

BY foxsports • March 6, 2016

Injury concerns continue to pile up for the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, stacking more doubt onto what would be an already unlikely postseason climb for each.

While the nicked-up Kings hope to snap a four-game skid in this series Monday night, the host Pelicans look to end their own four-game slide as they start life without one of their top scorers.

New Orleans (23-38) has lost four straight and is 1-5 since Anthony Davis scored 59 points in a 111-106 win at Detroit on Feb. 21 - its final victory of a 4-1 stretch that seemed to briefly ignite postseason aspirations.

Those have fizzled as the Pelicans have slipped to 12th place in the Western Conference, two games back of the 10th-place Kings (25-36).

While Davis is averaging 19.4 points since the league's top-scoring game this season, missing one contest with a right foot injury, the roster continues to crumble around him.

The biggest blow came in Saturday's 106-94 loss to Utah when Eric Gordon left in the first half with a fractured right ring finger just eight days after returning from the same injury.

Gordon averaged 22.7 points in his first three contests back from a 16-game absence, but coach Alvin Gentry speculated he could miss another 6-8 weeks, likely ending his season.

One of the only offensive positives last week for New Orleans was Gordon. The Pelicans shot 40.2 percent for an average of 91.7 points in three losses, the final two dropping them to 16-15 at home.

"We've just got to keep believing and keep staying together," Davis said. "This is not a time where we start falling apart. We've got to come closer and keep fighting and whatever happens, happens."

While 7-footer Omer Asik returned against Utah after missing five games with a right ankle sprain, it came just two days after 7-footer Alexis Ajinca was ruled out indefinitely with a fractured sternum.

Gentry said he will likely start point guard Jrue Holiday for the first time since early December, filling one of the guard spots left vacant by Gordon. Holiday has averaged 20.5 points in 11 games since Feb. 8.

Point guard Rajon Rondo is an injury report all by himself for Sacramento, which has lost five of six and is 5-13 since January's season-high five-game winning streak.

Rondo had nine points and eight assists in Saturday's 104-94 road loss to the Spurs, playing 36 minutes through a right ankle sprain, sprained right thumb and turf toe.

Three days after going scoreless for six minutes in Wednesday's 104-98 loss at Memphis, Sacramento went without a point for 5 1/2 minutes to open the second half against San Antonio - which played without LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan and Danny Green.

The loss dropped the Kings to 11-20 away from home.

''There have been a lot of teams disappointed on this court,'' coach George Karl said.

While Rudy Gay played through a right shoulder sprain, Kostas Koufos (food poisoning) and Seth Curry (right foot sprain) sat out.

Rondo and Gay are probable for Monday, while Curry is questionable.

New Orleans is guaranteed another matchup against DeMarcus Cousins, who has averaged 30.3 points, 15.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.8 blocks the last four games of this series - including Pelicans' wins of 109-97 at Sacramento on Jan. 13 and 114-105 in New Orleans on Jan. 28.

Davis finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds the first meeting but missed the second with a concussion. Ryan Anderson matched a career high with 36 points in the Pelicans' home win.