The Clippers face the Sacramento Kings five nights after a 38-point pasting and with a five-game winning streak on the line. Read on for a full Clippers vs Kings game preview.
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
When: 7:00 PM PT
How to Watch: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings: De’Aaron Fox — Buddy Hield — Harrison Barnes — Marvin Bagley — Richaun Holmes
Clippers: Patrick Beverley — Paul George — Kawhi Leonard — Nicolas Batum — Serge Ibaka
Kings: TBD — Hassan Whiteside (hip); OUT — Jahm’ius Ramsey (groin); OUT — Daquan Jeffries (ankle)
Clippers: QUESTIONABLE — Lou Williams (hip)
The Big Picture
. . . is about the winning streak, of course. Why, is there something else going on today?
The Clippers are wading through the shallow end of their schedule, with back-to-back home tilts against the Thunder up next, followed by a trip through the Eastern Conference and many of its lesser opponents. In other words, it’s a good time to make money.
Much has been made of the Clippers’ ability to close out games, but they’ve become more coldly efficient in recent weeks, using third-quarter surges to submerse their opponents for good. Some of that might be the easing schedule, but you get your reps in where you can.
You can also experiment, and Head Coach Tyronn Lue has discussed their rarely-used-so-far small lineups. Serge Ibaka is reported to be returning tonight, but if he’s less than 100% and Ivica Zubac maintains hismediocre form, the Kings and their lack of low-post brutes present an opportunity for downsizing. Watch out for those rebounders though.
. . . needs to pick it up on defense. Like, seriously, stand in front of somebody. No, between them and the basket. Yeah, right there.
If you hadn’t heard, the Kings’ current defensive rating is — checks notes — the worst ever. They approach basketball like you approach Madden: just give me the ball back so I can play offense again. They turn every offense into the second-ranked Clippers’, only better. So what will happen when they face — checks notes again — the Clippers. Fireworks, I hope.
- A Rare Luxury: Both teams enter tonight’s matchup well rested. (Well, they’ve had the opportunity to rest.) Neither team has played since Sunday, giving them two full days off between games. In a blurring gauntlet of a season, it should be a welcome respite, one the Clippers won’t experience again for three weeks. Games have seen some understandably listless starts. Let’s see if this one crackles from the off.
- Fox Score: Now a man with a freshly minted max-level contract, De’Aaron Fox must find another level to his play. The fourth-year guard has been up-and-down, but Sunday night’s game might’ve been his highest point yet, a 43-point career scoring night in a five-point loss. Notably, it was also his first double-digit assist game of the season. Sacramento’s lack of ideal court spacing handcuffs the downhill guard, but Fox may be turning his long-range game around as compensation — he’s made at least one three-pointer in four straight games. He needs more help, but he’s also learning to help himself.
- Game Thread: That’s about it for this game preview of the Clippers’ facing their division rival in the Kings, but the comments for this post will serve as our live game thread. Create a free account and join the conversation!
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