With a Sacramento Kings Play-In Game coming up against the New Orleans Pelicans, many eyes will be on the Kings. Ahead of the Kings-Pelicans, we'll be making our Kings Play-In predictions.

The Kings had an outstanding performance in their first Play-In matchup against the Golden State Warriors. They cruised to a 118-94 win, with their entire starting lineup playing at a high level.

Keegan Murray led the way with 32 points and nine rebounds, shooting 10-20 from the field and 8-13 from three. Murray had 14 of those points and four threes in the first quarter, setting the tone for Sacramento.

The star duo of De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis combined for 40 points, 16 rebounds, and 13 assists.

While the stars' performances were impressive, Keon Ellis was the true X-Factor. Ellis had 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists, shooting 3-4 from distance. Although his shooting was important, his defense made the true impact.

Ellis took on the challenge of defending Stephen Curry in the second half and finished the game with three steals and three blocks.

Ellis has been thrust into a prominent role in the rotation, with Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk out. The 24-year-old wing's production will be crucial to Sacramento against New Orleans.

Alternatively, the Pelicans head into this game after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers at home. New Orleans also lost star Zion Williamson in the final minutes of the game with a hamstring injury. This is a massive blow for them and will significantly impact their rotation and play style.

With that said, let's move on to our Kings Play-In Tournament predictions against the Pelicans.

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Keegan Murray continues his elite shooting

Murray has played well in his two seasons with Sacramento, developing into a high-caliber two-way forward. His performance against the Warriors should be a confidence booster heading into another win-or-go-home game.

Murray has become a solid scorer at all three levels but excels with his three-point shooting. New Orleans allowed the Lakers to shoot 14/35 (40%) from three. During the regular season, the Pelicans held their opponent to the second-lowest three-point percentage (35%), but that has dropped to 38.8% in their last three games.

Their recent struggle defending the three-point shot should favor Murray and the Kings. Murray needs to assert himself early to help Sacramento earn a victory.

De'Aaron Fox dominates

If the Kings want to move into the playoffs, they need Fox to have a dominant performance. Fox had a great regular season, averaging 26.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and two steals per game. He shot 46.5 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from behind the arc.

The 26-year-old won the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year Award in the 2023 season, proving that he shows up when it matters most.

His ability to get downhill makes him a threat to get to the rim on every possession. Fox is also a deadly mid-range shooter and has improved as a three-point shooter.

The Pelicans will pose a challenge for Fox, with multiple talented defenders to throw at him. Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado, and Trey Murphy could all see time on Fox, as they are all high-level defenders. However, expect Fox to meet the challenge head-on in a big game and dominate.

Kings beat Zion-less Pelicans

This game would have looked a lot different if Williamson were healthy. The Kings may even have been preparing for the Lakers rather than the Pelicans. Prior to exiting the Lakers-Pelicans Play-In matchup, Williamson had 40 points.

New Orleans has a tougher shot at advancing to the postseason without him in the lineup. Their other star, Brandon Ingram, has struggled since returning, as this will only be his third game back.

With all the issues that the Pelicans are facing and the Kings coming off a great win, they should come out on top and advance to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.