The LA Clippers returned home after the All-Star break but fell to the Sacramento Kings, 123-107.


Prior to tip-off against the Kings, the Clippers got good news and bad news. The good news was that Norman Powell, who sat out against the Memphis Grizzlies, was available. The bad news was Paul George, who had been downgraded to questionable during the day, was officially ruled out.

With Powell replacing George in the starting lineup, the Clippers got off to a solid start and held a 28-25 lead at the end of the first quarter. While the Kings surged ahead in the second quarter, the Clippers were still facing a manageable deficit, 58-51.

The second half was a completely different story. The Kings built an 18-point lead in the third quarter before the Clippers were able to whittle it down. Powell knocked down a string of three-point shots to help slice into the deficit and Kawhi Leonard had an emphatic block on De’Aaron Fox as the Clippers appeared to be getting back into the game.

That was when De’Aaron Fox took over. Fox got into the paint repeatedly in the fourth quarter and the Clippers had no answer as to how to slow him down. Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue admitted Fox has been a thorn in the Clippers side for quite some time.

“I’ve never seen us keep him out of the paint as long as I’ve been here. He’s always in the paint, that’s what he does. That’s why he’s one of the best point guards in the league,” Lue said. “We know they have shooters on the floor, we didn’t do a good job of taking away the paint first. . .he lives in the paint, that’s what he does and we didn’t do a good job protecting it.”

This game included, it hasn’t been a friendly month for the Clippers. Once the team returned from their Grammy road trip, it’s been inconsistent play after inconsistent play. The Clippers lone wins in that stretch were sluggish against lottery teams in the Pistons and Grizzlies and a comeback against the Warriors sparked by Draymond Green’s antics.

Aside from that, they’ve dropped important games agains the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder, all teams within striking distance in the standings.

Even with the Clippers recent struggles, Powell is confident they can regain the momentum they had just a few weeks ago.

“Just touching up on a few things and practicing this stuff right after the break,” Powell said. “We have two days to clean up some things, get back in the flow offensively and defensively and how we want to play every single night. But it’s being tied in defensively, that’s the biggest things. Offense, not too worried about that, we got enough talent to figure that out throughout the course of games. . .we’ve got to clean up a few things.”

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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