With a Sacramento Kings In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals game scheduled against the New Orleans Pelicans, many eyes will be on the Kings. Ahead of the Kings-Pelicans game, we'll be making our Kings In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals predictions.
Sacramento has started the season off 10-7, which has them in 6th place in the Western Conference. The Kings are coming off a great season where they ended their long playoff drought. De'Aaron Fox has led the way for Sacramento as a primary scorer. He is averaging a career-high 30.8 points this season on efficient shooting at 48.9 percent and 36.3 percent from three. Fox is also averaging 4.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
The 25-year-old guard is having a career year after leading the Kings to the playoffs. He has built upon his success last season, making Sacramento an even bigger threat in the Western Conference. His co-star, Domantas Sabonis, is also playing at a high level this season. The 27-year-old big man is averaging 18.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 6.9 assists on 58.7 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from downtown.
While the Kings aren't a big market team, they have built a good core around Fox and Sabonis. Sacramento will have a tough challenge against the New Orleans Pelicans in the Quarterfinals of the In-Season Tournament. New Orleans bested Sacramento on November 22nd, 117-112. They also dropped the game beforehand against the Pelicans, getting blown out 129-93.
In the games, the Pels forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have scored at will. That will continue to pose a challenge for Sacramento. Let's move on to our Kings In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals predictions.
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De'Aaron Fox scores 30-plus points
Fox is a dynamic guard who can score at all three levels. He excels at getting to the rim and has a quality mid-range shot. However, Fox is becoming more efficient from behind the arc, making it more challenging for defenses to stop him.
Fox was the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year, and in this big game, he will play at a high level. While New Orleans has talented wing defenders to throw at Fox, stopping him will still be difficult. Fox had 26 points on 9-17 shooting in the loss to New Orleans on November 22nd. In a high-stakes game, Fox will bring his best and put the Pelicans' defense to the test.
Domantas Sabonis gets double-double
Sabonis is one of the best centers in the NBA. He is a consistent double-double threat every night on the floor. Sabonis has 13 double-doubles in the 17 games he has played this season. The big man is a very efficient scorer and all-around offensive player.
Jonas Valanciunas is the Pels veteran big who will be up against Sabonis. Valanciunas is averaging 13.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. The 31-year-old is a quality player, but Sabonis has the edge against him.
Sabonis should continue his outstanding play and consistency as a scorer and rebounder against New Orleans.
Kings earn a narrow win over the Pelicans
Although Sacramento has lost to New Orleans twice, the Kings have what it takes to beat them in this crucial game. This is the first year of the In-Season Tournament, but it has a playoff-like atmosphere.
Sacramento is coming off a season where they pushed the Golden State Warriors to seven games in the postseason. While this isn't the same as the playoffs, the Kings will look to prove to the league they are a team to be feared. Advancing past the Quarterfinals of the In-Season Tournament would be a great start.