November 18, 2014

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins have something else in common along with being Kentucky products and two of the NBA's best post players.

With their teams continuing to drop in the standings, the two All-Stars face off for the final time this season when the Sacramento Kings host the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.

Frustrating seasons have turned even more sour for both teams of late. Injury-plagued New Orleans (24-42) has lost eight of nine and the first four of a five-game trip, while Sacramento (26-40) owns just two wins over its last 11 and is 6-17 since Jan. 25, the NBA's fourth-worst record over that stretch.

Cousins and Davis have continued to post big numbers through the turmoil, ranking fourth and seventh, respectively, in the league scoring race. Cousins is averaging 30.6 points per game over his last five - missing Saturday's loss to Orlando due to a team-issued suspension - and Davis 29.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in his past six.

Cousins has averaged 32.7 points and 12.7 rebounds in three season meetings with the Pelicans, though that production hasn't translated into any Sacramento wins. He had 40 in a 115-112 loss in New Orleans on March 7 and 32 in a 109-97 defeat at Sleep Train Arena on Jan. 13.

The Kings did halt a five-game skid with Tuesday's 106-98 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, ending a 22-game run in which they allowed at least 101 points. They'll now try to stop a six-game home losing streak and prevent the Pelicans from a sixth consecutive win in the series.

''Consistency has been one of our biggest problems,'' Cousins said. ''It's frustrating. We're still trying to figure it out. But the one thing about this locker room is that we stick together. We believe in one another and we just keep pushing forward, trying to finish the season strong.''

They're catching New Orleans in the midst of a defensive decline, as it's allowed 117.8 points per game and a 50.6 field goal percentage on the trip. Golden State shot 58.0 percent overall and went 12 of 25 from 3-point range in pulling away for a 125-107 win on Monday.

The Pelicans trailed the defending NBA champions by just nine at halftime before going 5 of 27 while outscored 35-19 in the third quarter.

"I thought we had done a good job on them up until that, but it doesn't matter how good you are defensively, you can't go 5-for-27 against that team in any span of the game," said New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, who received his championship ring prior to tip-off as the Warriors' associate head coach last season.

Poor outside shooting has hurt the Pelicans as well, as they've connected on only 27.2 percent on 3s over their last five. Ryan Anderson is 3 of 21 on the trip and Jrue Holiday 1 of 11 in two games after totaling 72 points over his previous two.

New Orleans has shot 39.3 from beyond the arc while averaging 112.7 points in the season series, and the Kings are allowing a league-high 10.3 3-pointers per game this season.

Sacramento did hold the lowly Lakers to a 5-of-26 effort, however, while scoring 30 points off 22 turnovers.

You May Like