Detroit Pistons vs. Sacramento Kings Pick & Prediction JANUARY 9th 2024

Mike Brown will not have to apologize to ticket-buying Sacramento Kings fans after Tuesday’s game.

The head coach felt bad for the paying customers who witnessed the Kings’ 133-100 home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. The Kings will be far from their home court on Tuesday, when they will be in Detroit to begin a five-game road trip.

The Pelicans led by as many as 50 points while defeating the Kings for the fourth time this season as Sacramento star guard De’Aaron Fox had three points on 1-of-10 shooting.

“They flat-out kicked our behind,” Brown said. “One thing I will say is I feel sorry for the fans who spent their money to come out and watch the game.”

New Orleans led 72-47 at halftime, then outscored Sacramento 31-14 in the third quarter.

“The fight was nonexistent and that hasn’t been there on a few occasions,” Brown said. “That’s the tough part. I don’t hear all the chatter, but I don’t see it in guys’ eyes, and I don’t hear it. You hear the chatter if we’re not playing well offensively. You hear that chatter, but diving on the floor for loose balls, going vertical, hitting somebody, I didn’t see that and that’s bothersome.”

The Kings had won four of their previous five games, including a double-overtime triumph over Orlando on Wednesday and a five-point victory over Toronto on Friday.

The fans showed their displeasure as the Pelicans built a huge lead with little resistance from the home team.

“We had two great home games with a lot of energy and fight, and (Sunday) we didn’t show that, so it’s normal,” center Domantas Sabonis said of the booing. “It sucks as players (to get booed). You’re on your home court, but you definitely understand them. It was not our best performance.”

The Kings’ opponent on Tuesday has struggled to give its own fans much to cheer about. Making things even worse for the 3-33 Pistons is that their best player is now ailing.

Cade Cunningham exited the team’s 131-114 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday during the first half with a left knee strain.

“Our franchise player. A guy like that can’t play, it has a trickle-down effect across the board,” coach Monty Williams said. “We have different guys stepping up in the pecking order, having to handle the ball and make plays and that kind of thing. Pretty clear how important Cade is to our program.”

Any time Cunningham has to miss will require more production from Pistons guards Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks, Killian Hayes and Marcus Sasser.

The Pistons fell apart without their floor leader on Sunday, giving up 43 third-quarter points to the defending champions. Detroit has lost four consecutive games after snapping its historic 28-game losing streak with a home win Dec. 30 over the Toronto Raptors.

Cunningham has averaged 22.8 points with 7.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 36 games.

“He’s one of the main guys who contribute to our team in a huge way,” center Jalen Duren said. “Not just scoring, he’s a facilitator, he’s a guy that attracts a lot of people to him. He has a lot of gravity towards him. Not having him, we just have to make adjustments. But that’s not an excuse. Next guy up, next man mentality and we’re supposed to be ready for that.”

–Field Level Media

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