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Pelicans try to snap losing skid Monday in Sacramento
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 12/23/2013  at  6:41:00 AM
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NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (11-14)

at SACRAMENTO KINGS (8-18)

Tip-off: Monday, 10:05 p.m. ET
Line: Even, Total: 209

After a four-game road trip, the Kings return back home to face the struggling Pelicans on Monday night.

New Orleans will be playing its fifth and final game of its current road trip, in which the team has gone 0-4 SU (1-3 ATS) and lost by an average of 9.0 PPG. The Pelicans did perform well against one of the best teams in the NBA on Saturday though, playing hard against the 8-point favorite Trail Blazers, but giving up the lead in the final few minutes, and losing 110-107. The Kings' acquisition of SF Rudy Gay has not seemed to help the cause, as the team is 2-4 (SU and ATS) since the trade. However, they are coming off a 105-100 victory in Orlando on Saturday that wrapped up a four-game road trip. Sacramento has a poor 5-10 record (both SU and ATS) at home this season, while the Pelicans are 4-9 SU (5-8 ATS) on the road. Last season, New Orleans was 2-1 SU and ATS in this matchup with the home team winning all three meetings. Since 1996, Sacramento is 18-5 SU (18-4-1 ATS) when hosting the Pelicans, including a 121-110 victory in the most recent series meeting on April 10, 2013. This is usually a high-scoring affair with the Over going 8-1 in this matchup since the 2011 calendar year. The Over is also 10-0 when New Orleans has faced a losing team this season. Although the Pelicans are 31-14 ATS (69%) on the road after 4+ straight SU losses since 1996, the Kings fall into the category of NBA teams where the line is +3 to -3 in a game involving two horrible defensive teams (102+ PPG allowed) after scoring 100+ points in three straight games. C Jason Smith (knee) is considered doubtful to play for the Pelicans on Monday, while there are currently no significant injuries for the Kings, other than SF Carl Landry who has missed the entire season with a hip injury.

Which slumping team will pull out the victory on Monday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five experts are absolutely sizzling on NBA Best Bets in December, going 67% ATS (47-23) including 21-2 ATS (91%) since Dec. 16. During the month, StatFox Zach has an astronomical 93% ATS mark (13-1) and is currently 62% ATS (24-15) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave has an excellent 81% ATS (13-3) Best Bets record in December and is 58% ATS (23-17) on Best Bets for the season. Since Dec. 16, StatFox Gary is 4-0 ATS, while both StatFox Brian and StatFox Scott are 3-1 ATS

The young Pelicans have been solid on offense this season, scoring 102.4 PPG (12th in NBA), but have failed to surpass 95 points in three of their past four games. While they have been rather successful on offense, their defense needs a lot of work, allowing the fourth-most points in the league at 102.8 PPG. C Anthony Davis (19.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG) leads the NBA with 3.3 BPG, and has averaged 22.5 PPG (58% FG) and 10.5 RPG in his two games since returning from a hand injury that cost him seven games. In his rookie season, Davis posted 14.7 PPG (60% FG) while grabbing 8.0 RPG in three contests against the Kings. PF Ryan Anderson (21.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG) has been the teamís main offensive weapon so far, hitting shots from beyond the arc at a 43% clip. He has increased his offensive output in December (22.5 PPG) and scored 17.7 PPG with 6.7 RPG in three games against Sacramento a season ago. PG Jrue Holiday (15.0 PPG, 8.0 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG) has three double-doubles so far this month and has done relatively well in seven career games (5 starts) against the Kings with 15.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 5.3 APG. SG Eric Gordon (15.4 PPG, 1.5 SPG) is coming off an 18-point performance against the Blazers, while averaging 21.2 PPG (54% FG, 29-of-58 threes) in 13 career games (12 starts) in this matchup. PG Tyreke Evans (12.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.3 SPG) has been one of the top bench players in the league and after missing two games with an ankle injury, he has averaged 16.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG and 8.0 APG over his past two contests, which included a triple-double (11 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) against the Clippers. He will be facing his former team for the first time since leaving Sacramento in the offseason.

The Kings are an average offensive team, scoring 99.7 PPG (17th in NBA) and shooting 44.2% from the field (22nd in league). Their main problem at the moment is their defense, as they are allowing the second-most points in the NBA (103.3 PPG) and have given up 110+ points in four of their past seven games. C DeMarcus Cousins (22.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG) has become an elite big man in the NBA, and has a double-double in six of his past eight games, where he's averaged 23.5 PPG, 12.4 RPG and an impressive 2.0 SPG. He has averaged 17.2 PPG with 9.4 RPG in nine career games (8 starts) when facing New Orleans. SF Rudy Gay (19.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG) was acquired earlier this month and has netted 18.8 PPG with 3.7 RPG and 1.8 SPG in six games with his new team. In 23 career contests versus New Orleans, Gay has averaged 18.9 PPG on 48% FG (43% threes) with 4.9 RPG. PG Isaiah Thomas (18.8 PPG, 5.7 APG) was promoted to the starting lineup when Greivis Vasquez was traded to the Raptors, and has given the Kings 20.9 PPG (47% FG, 41% threes), 7.4 APG and 1.4 SPG in his first eight starts. Thomas scored 17.0 PPG on 49% FG (3-of-6 threes) in three games against the Pelicans last season.

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