December 26, 2017, 5:02 am
The Kings and Clippers are set for a duel post-Christmas in Los Angeles. Both teams are looking to gain momentum as the new year inches closer and tonight is a good launching point.
The two teams met earlier in the season in Sacramento and it was the Clippers who managed to escape with a close 95-97 victory. It was a game that the Kings were up big in but they let it slip in the second half and fell late.
Blake Griffin was massive for the Clippers in that first meeting amassing 33 points, four rebounds and five assists. However, Griffin won’t be playing this time around so they’ll have to look for production elsewhere.
Austin Rivers could be that guy to fill the void, as he’s been on another level lately posting career-highs in back-to-back games. He recorded 36 points against the Rockets and then followed that up with 38 points against the Grizzlies. He nailed 11 3-pointers across those two games so locking him down on the perimeter will be the key.
Plugging Garrett Temple on him could do the trick, despite the fact he’s been underwhelming on both ends this season. Pressuring him and forcing him to drive as opposed to spot up will contribute to success for Sacramento.
Another guy who presents matchup problems is Lou Williams who has been a dynamo offensively lately. He had 36 points against the Grizzlies, prior to that he had 32 points with seven 3-pointers against the Rockets. Both Williams and Rivers have been unstoppable and if the Kings are able to shut them down it’ll really make life difficult for LA.
Buddy Hield had one of his best games of the season back in the first meeting between these two teams, dropping 27 points with seven 3-pointers. It could very well turn out to be a 3-point shootout if both teams hit their stride which could make for an entertaining 48 minutes.
Whilst they’re dealing with injuries, the Clippers are no easy beat anymore and have been playing better lately. They seem to win and lose in spurts so the Kings will be hoping to contribute to a losing spurt as opposed to a winning one.
PG – George Hill
SG – Garrett Temple
SF – Bogdan Bogdanovic
PF – Zach Randolph
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Harry Giles (knee) – OUT
De’Aaron Fox (quad) – OUT
Vince Carter (rib strain) – PROBABLE
HOW TO WATCH
Where: NBCS California
When: 7:30 p.m. PST (10:30 p.m. EST)