Kings vs. Pelicans odds, prediction, injury report, schedule for 2024 NBA Play-In game

With the Pelicans’ loss to the Lakers and the Kings’ win over the Warriors on Tuesday night, the final Western Conference Play-In game is set.

Sacramento will visit New Orleans at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday for the chance to play the top-seeded Thunder in the first round. The loser will be eliminated from the postseason.

These teams met just a week ago in a critical game for postseason seeding. Even without Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans led for all 48 minutes, winning by a comfortable 12-point margin.

That result capped a season series in which the Pelicans went a perfect 5-0 against the Kings. You shouldn’t necessarily expect that result to repeat, though. Here’s everything you need to know before Friday’s game to understand why.  

Kings vs. Pelicans schedule

Date Time (ET) TV channel
Friday, April 19 9:30 p.m. TNT/truTV

Kings vs. Pelicans betting odds

The Kings (-115) open as the 1.5 point favorite to win the game over the Pelicans (+105), per BetMGM, an authorized gaming operator of the NBA. 

Kings vs. Pelicans injury report

Zion Williamson’s health is going to be the big story headed into this game. He exited Tuesday’s Play-In game with just under three minutes remaining after feeling pain in his hamstring. The injury was initially deemed “left leg soreness.” 

Williamson has been deemed out for Friday’s game, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk will be out for the Kings. 

Kings vs. Pelicans regular season series

The Pelicans absolutely dominated the Kings during the regular season. Sacramento went 0-5, losing by an average of 19.2 points per game. 

  • Nov. 20, 2023: Pelicans 129, Kings 93
  • Nov. 22, 2023: Pelicans 117, Kings 112
  • Dec. 4, 2023: Pelicans 127, Kings 117
  • Jan. 7, 2024: Pelicans 133, Kings 100
  • April 11, 2024: Pelicans 135, Kings 123

All three of New Orleans’ key players lit up the Kings’ defense. CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Williamson averaged 26.0, 24.8 and 23.0 points per game, respectively. 

Kings vs. Pelicans key storyline: Can the Pelicans overcome injuries? 

Williamson was spectacular in Tuesday’s Play-In game, scoring 40 points before exiting in the final minutes. The team mounted a furious comeback against the Lakers but had the wind come out of their sails after that injury. Missing him will be a crushing blow. 

Ingram also isn’t close to 100% for the Kings. He missed 12 games before returning for the regular-season finale. He was very ineffective Tuesday, shooting just 4-of-12 and getting benched down the stretch. The Pelicans played much better with him off the floor.

Those are obviously two of the Pelicans’ best players. CJ McCollum was also terrible in that first Play-In game, going just 4-of-15 including 1-of-9 from 3.

If the Pelicans’ big three can’t be counted on, then they stand little shot in this game — although they did beat the Kings without Williamson in one of their regular-season meetings.

Kings vs. Pelicans prediction

These are two very good teams. The Pelicans won 49 games, and the Kings won 46. It is a shame that one will not make the playoffs. 

The Pelicans would be significant favorites if they were at full health. They have ran roughshod over the Kings, and they’ve had good personnel in All-Defensive candidate Herb Jones, Dyson Daniels, and Jose Alvarado that can slow down De’Aaron Fox. 

The Kings are also a much-improved defensive team. Fox has gotten better this season, and Keegan Murray has turned into the best wing defender on the team. 

Keon Ellis could be Sacramento’s X factor. The second year guard has emerged as a 3-and-D stopper and did an excellent job on Steph Curry in Tuesday’s Play-In win over the Warriors.

Ultimately, this game has swung due to Zion being ruled out. Coupled with Ingram’s rustiness, the Kings have to be favored in this winner-take-all game.

Prediction: Kings advance to eighth seed, Pelicans eliminated from playoffs

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