Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pick & Prediction JANUARY 7th 2024

The New Orleans Pelicans suffered their most lopsided home loss in more than two months in their last game.

And now they’re embarking on a five-game Western Conference road trip that begins Sunday in Sacramento.

The Pelicans had won four games in a row before the visiting Los Angeles Clippers led by as many as 31 points in a 111-95 victory Friday night.

L.A. also had won four in a row and dominated after the two teams finished the first quarter in a 26-all tie.

“We didn’t meet the challenge,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “They were playing well coming in and we were playing well, and they came in and kicked our butts. They were a better team. We were a step slow. We have to be better.”

Green called the performance in which no Pelican scored more than 13 points “definitely a teaching moment.”

“You lose a game, you go back and see what you did well and see what you need to improve on,” he said. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to be an emotional team and hang our hats with every single win and loss. We want to stay the course.”

Zion Williamson played just 19 minutes after sustaining a right leg contusion late in the first half. He continued playing into the third quarter before deciding it was best not to play on the leg any more. His availability for Sunday is questionable.

New Orleans’ road trip will continue against Golden State on Wednesday, Denver on Friday and Dallas on Jan. 13 and 15.

The Kings have won four of their last five games after a 135-130 home victory against Toronto on Friday night.

Sacramento opened a 77-57 halftime lead and held on after the Raptors scored 73 second-half points.

Domantas Sabonis scored 24 points and had 15 rebounds and 11 assists for his second consecutive triple-double. Sabonis has eight triple-doubles this season, including three in his last four games.

“It seems like it’s a common theme after every game, he’s getting a triple-double,” Kings coach Mike Brown said.

Sabonis’ latest triple-double came even though he fouled out with more than a minute to play.

“He does everything for us,” guard De’Aaron Fox said of Sabonis. “He’s the hub of our offense and even better for us defensively as well. We ask him to do so much for us: rebound, score the ball, play-make, screen. That takes a lot out of a person, but he’s been well-equipped for it and he’s dominated at it.”

Sacramento, which led by 23 midway through the third quarter, outscored Toronto 63-39 on 3-pointers, shooting 55.3 percent from beyond the arc. Seven Kings scored in double figures.

The Pelicans have already clinched the season series with a 3-0 record against the Kings, having won in New Orleans 129-93 on Nov. 20 and 117-112 on Nov. 22, then prevailing in an in-season tournament quarterfinal game Dec. 4 in Sacramento. The teams will meet for a fifth time April 11 in Sacramento.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping