DeMarcus Cousins is returning to Sacramento to face his former team, but he could be without his star teammate. The New Orleans Pelicans got some good news on the injury front but could be missing Anthony Davis in the short term when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
Davis left Tuesday’s 103-93 loss at Portland five minutes into the first quarter with a knee injury and underwent an MRI that came back clean, leaving his status as day-to-day. Davis averaged 31.7 points and 16.7 rebounds in the first three games, and Cousins tried to pick up the slack by going for 39 points and 13 boards on Tuesday. The Kings are returning home after a three-game road trip and handed the Phoenix Suns their first win of the season with a 117-115 decision on Monday. The biggest piece coming back to Sacramento in the deal that sent Cousins away last winter was shooting guard Buddy Hield, who is shooting 35.8 percent from the floor and was limited to 17 minutes despite starting on Monday.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE PELICANS (1-3): Cousins’ attitude and inability to connect with coaches and teammates hastened his exit from Sacramento, but he doesn’t seem to be having those issues in New Orleans. “DeMarcus really carried us and completely took over the game,” point guard Jrue Holiday told reporters after Tuesday’s loss. “His leadership on and off the court, the way he was talking to us, keeping up the energy, he did a great job. As a team, we fought for each other and that’s all we can ask for.” Cousins is averaging 31 points, 12 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.3 blocks in the early going.
ABOUT THE KINGS (1-3): Sacramento is trying to build around players like Hield and rookie guard De’Aaron Fox, who recorded season highs with 19 points and 30 minutes in Monday’s loss. Fox is leading a second unit that now includes shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who made his NBA debut on Monday and scored 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting in 25 minutes. “He gives us some playmaking, ability to make some shots,” Kings coach Dave Joerger told the Sacramento Bee of Bogdanovic. “He’s got poise, he’s got high IQ and can pass and cut, play with the ball on the move, which a lot of our American guys can’t do.”
1. Pelicans PG Jameer Nelson is averaging 7.5 points in 27.5 minutes off the bench in two games since signing with the team as a free agent.
2. Kings F Skal Labissiere is averaging 12.5 points on 52.5 percent shooting.
3. Cousins collected 37 points and 13 rebounds in his first game against Sacramento - a 117-89 New Orleans win on March 31.
PREDICTION: Pelicans 111, Kings 103