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Clippers at Kings - Game Preview and Open Thread

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LA Clippers logo
vs.
Kings logo
23-52 34-40
Arco Arena
April 3, 2008 - 7:00 PM
TV: FSN Prime Ticket
Probable starters:
Brevin Knight PG Anthony Johnson
Quinton Ross SG Kevin Martin
Corey Maggette SF Ron Artest
Al Thornton PF Mikki Moore
Josh Powell C Brad Miller
The Big Picture:

Elton Brand is back!  The Clippers are undefeated with Brand in the lineup!  They're undefeated in the month of April!  And they're undefeated against the Kings this season!  This game is a lock.  Seriously, after the way the Kings have manhandled the Clippers over the years, it would be pretty sweet to get the sweep.  Not to mention really, really embarrassing for Ziller.  Of course, Kaman has been the King killer this season, and he won't be playing.  But EB has had his share of big games against the Kings over the years as well.  Tim Thomas is listed as doubtful, Cat Mobley as day to day.  I don't see either of them playing given the insignificance of the game.  Not to mention that MDsr is probably happy to continue evaluating the likes of Marcus Williams and Nick Fazekas.

The Antagonist:

Way back in October, via a Diary on Sactown Royalty, I asked Ziller et al who was going to win more games - the Clippers or the Kings.  At the time, we knew Brand was out for awhile (though we didn't imagine it would be 74 games), and the very day I posted the Diary, Mike Bibby got hurt.    Of course neither of us could possibly have predicted all the other things that would go south - injuries galore on both sides, veteran point guards long gone.  It's not been easy for the Clippers or the Kings this season.  But it must be stated, that despite all of their issues, the Kings have already won 34 games and are a full 11.5 games ahead of the Clippers in the standings.  (Here, let's drive the SR guys nuts; if they'd beaten the Clippers 3 times, they'd be 37-37 instead of 34-40.)  The Clippers can't be said to have overachieved or underachieved this season - given their situation, the word 'achieve' has little meaning.  But the Kings are definitely among the biggest overachievers in the NBA, considering their injuries and the departure of Bibby.  Reggie Theus deserves a lot of credit, as do Kevin Martin, Brad Miller, Beno Udrih and, yes, Ron Artest.

The Subplots

  • 'No Udrih.  Beno Udrih, the point guard MDsr wanted to get off of waivers in November who instead went to the Kings, will not play tonight because of back spasms.  Udrih's been nothing short of a revelation this season, his play in the end making Mike Bibby expendable.  Of course, there's no guarantee he'll be in Sacramento next year since he's a free agent.  MDsr may have a chance to grab him after all.  Anthony Johnson, a throw-in in the Bibby deal, will start at the point.  It is the very rare game this season where the Clippers are not at a distinct disadvantage at the point guard position.
  • Speed Racer's Worst Nightmare.  No, it's not the horrible crash that almost killed Chim-Chim and Trixie.  It's Quinton Ross.  Kevin Martin has become one of the top scorers in the NBA.  He is currently 7th in the league at a career high 23.5 points per game.  But he has NEVER played well against the Clippers.  In fact, most of the time he's been downright detrimental to his team's cause.  Of course, he's only played in one of the three meetings between the teams this season - he was 3 for 11 in that one.  He'll break out at some point - he's too good not to.  Let's just hope it's not tonight.  With Mobley hurting, Ross will get the start and plenty of minutes in KMart's grill.  I'm guessing that when Martin is on the floor, Ross will be there with him.
  • Get out the Brooms.  In a season in which the Clippers may not win 25 games, a win tonight will make it 4 for 4 against the Kings.  Shouldn't we send them a fruit basket, or something?
  • Big Game from Thornton?  In the last win against the Kings, Al Thornton went off, scoring 22 of his game high 27 in the final 16 minutes of the Clippers' double overtime win.  That included the shot that sent the game into OT on a nasty step back jumper.  Of course, both Martin and Artest sat out that game.  Look for Artest to log a lot of minutes checking Al tonight.
  • Home Court Advantage.  The Kings are 23-13 at home this season, 11-27 on the road.  Their road record is roughly equivalent to the Clippers' (10-27), meaning that basically all of their advantage over the Clippers this season has been won at home (where the Clippers have been disturbingly bad).  As it happens, the Clippers have won the last two meetings in Sactown, going back to last season.  But before that, you have to go back to the Clinton administation - that's Bill Clinton.
  • Open Thread.  It's never much been our thing here at ClipsNation, but we've actually been getting some commenters on the open threads lately.  Citizens John R, Lawler's Law, Clip Show and Cabezadeknuckle (at least) have been chiming in.  I'm going to make an effort to watch the game in real time tonight, so hopefully I'll see some of you there.
  • Elton Brand is Back!  I just can't say it enough.  (I'm going to be really depressed if they decide to rest him tonight.)