New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Sacramento Kings: Predictions, Starting Lineups (12/4/23)

The knockout rounds of the In-Season Tournament have arrived, and the second matchup on Monday night’s slate features two Western Conference teams: New Orleans and Sacramento. Take a look at our New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Sacramento Kings predictions, best bets, and current betting odds.

New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Sacramento Kings Prediction

 

We have not really seen a healthy New Orleans Pelicans team since this time last season when they were a top-two or top-three team in the Western Conference. The difference between then and now is that the Pels added Jordan Hawkins’ elite movement shooting, particularly from deep, and roster several players who have continued to improve.

Whether or not the Pels can stay healthy for the majority of the 2023-24 regular season is to be determined; however, they have a handful of dangerous offensive weapons, including Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. McCollum, Trey Murphy III, and Jordan Hawkins for this game. Further, they have some of the best perimeter defenders in the league, with Murphy, Dyson Daniels, Herb Jones, and Jose Alvarado terrorizing opposing guards/wings.

It is challenging to judge just how good this team can be when they are fully healthy and if chemistry will be an issue since they haven’t played with everyone available at once in quite some time. Still, we would lean towards the Pels having immediate success due to their abundant talent.

Further, New Orleans holds opponents to the third-lowest 3P% in the NBA, which should stifle Sacramento’s three-point shooting; it already has struggled at times, shooting just 35.5% (18th) as a team this season.

The Pelicans’ most significant weakness at this point (when healthy, at least) is a lack of rim protection. Luckily, Sacramento ranks just 18th in points in the paint per game and 27th in percentage of points from two-pointers (%PTS 2PT.) New Orleans should not have to worry about its defensive struggles in the interior, especially if Valanciunas can hold Sabonis at bay.

Lastly, the Pels have already beaten the Kings twice this season by a combined 41 points. New Orleans just has a matchup advantage against this Kings team. It is as simple as that.

New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Sacramento Kings Prediction: Pelicans +3.5

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New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Sacramento Kings Best Odds

 

 

The Sacramento Kings are 3.5-point home favorites when they host the Pelicans for the Quarterfinals of the In-Season Tournament. Sacramento has Moneyline odds of -155, while New Orleans is a +130 road dog to win outright. The point total for this Western Conference battle is currently at 236.5 points, but that could move a bit before tip-off.

New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup

PG: C.J. McCollum
SG: Brandon Ingram
SF: Herb Jones
PF: Zion Williamson
C: Jonas Valanciunas

Sacramento Kings Starting Lineup

PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Keegan Murray
C: Domantas Sabonis

New Orleans Pelicans Vs Sacramento Kings Injuries

New Orleans is as healthy as it has been in a long time; it will only be without Matt Ryan (elbow) and Larry Nance Jr. (rib fracture.)

Meanwhile, Sacramento is in a similar position, only missing two rotational pieces, including Chris Duarte (knee) and Alex Len (ankle.) Both teams should be as close to full health as possible unless there are any late scratches.

 

 

New Orleans Pelicans Vs. Sacramento Kings Key Matchups

The key matchup in this game is between the New Orleans Pelicans’ frontcourt and the Sacramento Kings’ frontcourt. See if Sabonis and Murray can keep up with Zion and Valanciunas below!

Kings Frontcourt vs. Pelicans Frontcourt

The wing/perimeter play for both teams is largely consistent, with De’Aaron Fox averaging 30 points per game and Malik Monk providing electric bench scoring for the Kings. For the Pels, C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Trey Murphy III, and Jordan Hawkins are all capable of shooting the lights out for the Pelicans.

Ultimately, this game will likely be decided in the frontcourt. Can Keegan Murray match Zion’s physicality? Can Valanciunas step up defensively against an uber-physical and talented center like Sabonis?

Since Sabonis is not exactly an above-the-rim player, and the Kings don’t have many players who apply a ton of pressure on the rim, Valanciunas should be able to contain him to a reasonable output. Further, Valanciunas has averaged 18 points per game on 67% shooting from the field in his past four games, so he has been playing exceptionally well offensively. And Sabonis is also a below-average, at best, defender, giving Jonas a green light when he has the ball.

Zion also has an advantage on Keegan Murray, Sacramento’s starting power forward. Williamson has averaged close to 26 points, six assists, and five rebounds per game in his past eight outings; he has improved his playmaking and passing drastically this season, which will force Murray to be attentive at all times on the defensive end of the floor. New Orleans has a clear frontcourt advantage here. Advantage: Pelicans Frontcourt.

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at Lineups.com, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.

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