Kings vs Pelicans NBA Free Pick & Prediction [Play-In]

Oklahoma City awaits the winner of this Western Conference Play-In game.

Sacramento (46-36) at New Orleans (49-33)
When: Friday, April 19th 2024
Where: Smoothie King Center,
New Orleans, LA

Time: 9:30 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: New Orleans -1.5/218.5

The final Western Conference Playoff spot comes down to one game. The Sacramento Kings visit the New Orleans Pelicans for the right to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round beginning Sunday night. Both teams played this week with different results. The Kings held off nemesis Golden State on Tuesday with a 118-94 victory, while the Pelicans were no match for the L.A. Lakers in a 110-106 setback that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

New Orleans will have to play Friday’s win-or-go-home contest without Zion Williamson, who suffered a left hamstring sprain in the final minutes of Tuesday’s defeat. The team went 7-5 in Williamson’s absence this season, including a Jan. 7 victory over the Kings. That was one of the five games Sacramento lost against the Pelicans this season and four of them were by double-digits. The Kings are small 1-point road favorites in this one with a total of 211.


Despite the absences of Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter, the Kings exorcised some demons after losing to Golden State in Game 7 of the first round last season. Sacramento controlled the entire game for a convincing 118-94 triumph. Defensive play has been key with this Kings team for a couple of months now. They limited Golden State to only 80 shots. Second-year player Keegan Murray scored 32 points, including eight threes and nine rebounds. Domantas Sabonis didn’t recorded 16 points, 12 boards and seven assists. De’Aaron Fox added 24 points and all five starters had point differentials of plus-20 or greater.


New Orleans has had trouble at home recently and with the Lakers in general, so Tuesday’s result wasn’t surprising to me. Williamson had 40 points before he hurt his hamstring and he will be missed on Friday. Brandon Ingram (10 points) still doesn’t look 100% and CJ McCollum was terrible, 4-for-15 for nine points including 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Pelicans will need more from McCollum and a bigger presence inside from Jonas Valanciunas, who went 1-of-7 from the floor and scored only four points.

New Orleans has lost six home games in a row and now they must play without the only guy who really showed up on Tuesday. The Kings have been great defensively lately and guard the perimeter extremely well. I know Sacramento hasn’t beaten New Orleans this year, but they’ll come through in the only game that really matters.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.

Pick: Kings -1